Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries are all special days looked forward to by everyone around the world. People spend the extra time to get ready, get gifts, plan things out. They take these days as a day to be nicer than usual, happier than usual and spend it with the one(s) they love. I spend all those days at the cementary, with the one I love. He passed away 2 years ago, his name was Alex.
I meet Alex in my English class freshman year (September 2006), he was the aide. he was also a sophomore. and boy was he beautiful. he was the quarterback for the JV Football team and very well liked. he had the most amazing smile, the kind that warms your heart and these green eyes that lit the room up. I liked him from the second I laid eyes on him.
I still remember the first day we talked, about a month or two into school he asked to borrow a pen in the cafeteria. as I handed him the pen he smiled and said you’re in my aiding class right? he forged his parent’s signature on the homecoming permission slip handed me my pen and left. but those few words and one smile, made at that time, the greatest day of my life.
I guess you should know I was and still am dorky. I never kissed a boy, let alone had a boyfriend. I spent most lunches reading, I had maybe 3 good friends at my school. and I just didn’t know how to let loose. I never went to school dances or participated in extra clubs. I wasn’t artsy or athelitic, I didn’t have confidence. I was pretty boring and kind of awkward. There was nothing too special about me.
The few friends I had, really wanted to go to Homecoming (October 2006). I was sort of forced into it. but it turned out to be a great night. I will admit I had fun picking out a dress and getting my nails done and actually getting excited about something. but I am not a dancer. I spent little time dancing, and by dancing I mean me awkwardly swaying with my friends. I usualy found my way outside the hot gym to get some water and relax on the stairs.
It was towards the end of the dance on those stairs, (the first time I referred to them as our stairs), me and Alex had our first real conversation. I was sitting there when he came out all sweaty and sat right next to me. we talked for a couple minutes as he asked about the dance, if I was having fun, and made some more small talk. he eventually got up and said bye Candace see ya monday. once again such few words meant so much to me. Alex knew my name.
The next couple of months we gradually began talking in English. I would ask for help (even though I didn’t need it) and we would talk about our weekends. or sports. or the girls chasing after him. we talked about him turning 16 (December 13). movies. and sometimes we wouldn’t talk at all. sometimes he didn’t come and some days I had tests. some days I would read. but somewhere in the middle of all of that we became friends. the friday before we got out for Christmas vacation he asked for my number. he didn’t text me till saturday night, but after that we couldn’t put our phones down. it was like those three weeks were the greatest weeks of my life and ironically I didn’t even see him. I was so scared for vaction to end because I didn’t know how he would act in real life. he was the cutest guy in the whole school. he had a million friends, a million girls who wanted him, he had everything he needed. so why even need me as a friend. I was so scared that once Alex saw me in real life again he would forget these wonderful 3 weeks we spent getting to know each other, telling each other everything.
When that monday came he texted me in the morning like usual but I got really embarrassed. how could I ever think I had a chance with a guy like him. it was totally obvious I liked him and I felt so pathetic. I convinced myself he was only texting back to be nice. so I didn’t respond. English is fourth period. he texted me again in third asking if everything was okay. I ignored it. I made sure I was the first kid in English. I went straight to my seat and started reading. Alex came in a couple minutes later and said hey Candace. I looked up and there he was standing, smiling so big and suddenly everything was okay.
February 8th, 2007 during sixth period I got text asking if I could meet Alex at the stairs (the same one from the dance). as I walked over there thousands of thoughts were filling my head. I figured Alex was going to tell me to stop texting him or that our whole friendship was a joke or that he hated me. but when I got there he gave me a hug, our first hug ever. and my little body fit so perfectly into his arms. he sat down and so I akwardly sat down. we talked for awhile and at the end he asked if I wanted to hangout tomorrow (Friday). all I could stumble out was alone? and he smiled that amazing smile of his and said “of course I want you all to myself.”
Feburary 9th 2007 during the movie Alex held my hand. afterwards we got ice cream. we talked for what seemed like hours about anything we could think of. his brother eventually picked us up and when I got home I ran up the stairs and snuggled under my covers with the biggest smile. things we’re finally falling together in my life.
February 17 2007 was my 15th birthday. Alex wasn’t at school and he wasn’t responding to my texts. the last week had been perfect, we hung out once more and we we were constantly flirting through text and at school. I had this really sick feeling in my stomach that something bad happened. I searched every text trying to see what I had said to scare him off. I walked home and went to my room. around 530 the doorbell rang and I answered it. there was Alex with a single white rose and some balloons. happy birthday Candace ! he shouted. I started crying. it was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. I know it’s not the greatest or most creative but to me it was. no one had ever given me that much thought or made me feel so special. then he showed me his car keys. he had gotten his liscence and that’s why he missed school. we went to eat philly cheesesteaks. after he drove me home and we took a walk to the park, our park. we sat on the swings and talked and then he kissed me. my first kiss ever. it was so awkward but so perfect. and to top it off he asked me to be his girlfriend. h i s g i r l f r i e n d . Alex’s girl. him all to myself, forever.
Alex was the first person in my life to actually make me feel worthy. he was my first real best friend. the first person I became comfortable with. the person I would run to first when anything happened, telling him my deepest secrets. he made me feel like there was something special about me. that I was beautiful. he was the best part of my life. and I feel in love with him so fast, so hard. the next six months we’re unbelievable. I learned how to care for someone. I mean truly care. the kind of bond where you would go through hell to see them for two minutes. deprivation of sleep, grades dropping, giving up anything to make them happy, to be around them. we shared so many adventures. just talking and kissing at our park. everyday him waiting for me at our stairs. trying new things. he was like a dream so perfect and beautiful and great and I was just this girl who he stumbled upon. it was overwhelming to think he had choosen me.
Don’t get me wrong, we had our fights. we’d argue and get mad but we always seemed to fall back into place. except when it was about Megan. Megan was “like a sister to him” and at first she was really sweet and happy for us and she would try to talk to me and hang out. which was really nice because I had never had a real girl best friend. Alex had become my best friend, someone to share everything with. but when I needed to talk girl talk, or if I wanted to talk about him I couldn’t. so having Megan around was nice, until I saw the true bitch that she was. the first time I should have cut her out was about three months into our relationship. me and Megan we’re good friends at this time. she was asking how me and Alex met etc. so me thinking it was cute, told her how before me and Alex were close I used to ask him questions I already knew the answer to just to have the chance of hearing his voice. she said “omg that’s so cute you guys were totally meant to be” but what does she tell Alex? that “I used to think he was so stupid. I’d secretly mock him by asking him questions in English then making fun of the answers he gave me. and so technically our whole relationship was based off a lie” … um what the fuck bitch? he was skeptical but still hurt. because in his opinion there really was no reason for Megan to make up that whole story and hurt our relationship. even though she did. I should have seen there, that clearly she was jealous of me. of me and him. and that she wanted him, all to herself. but me and Alex worked through it, then me and Megan worked through it and for some reason, who the hell knows why, I forgave her. I think it was mostly because I didn’t want to lose the only other person in my life close to me.
The second and final time she screwed me over. was about 5 months into our relationship. she came to my house for a sleepover. we went to the mall and ate and sort of shopped around. Megan saw these guys she knew (Megan goes to a different school) and she went to talk to them. I awkwardly stood there while they talked about some funny story or something. she left to grab a napkin and the guys tried to fill me in on the story. it was actually pretty funny so I cracked up. guess what this crazy bitch does? takes a picture of me and the guy laughing sends it to Alex then says how I’m cheating on him! she wrote a whole legit story about how she tried to stop me and all this bullshit. Alex was furious. me and him spent the next week and half working things out, almost breaking up. thank god that guy had a girlfriend and came to alex telling the truth. I was done with that crazy bitch Megan. but Alex forgave her ass! it took time, but still how could he forgive someone who almost ruined our relationship? he still talked to her form time to time. I would get so mad because of what she did, what she caused. it was so obvious that she wanted Alex but Alex was too stubborn to see it.
On top of the whole Megan situation, I felt us drifting in some aspects. Alex was getting more and more into this group of people who lived for partying. he wouldnt let me inside his heart. he hid a dark past, trying to protect me. but it only ended in us growing apart. he was scared, but of what I didn’t know.
August 28, 2007 he takes me to another party. we went with a mutual friend, Tony. when we were in the car driving there I could tell Alex was really anxious and upset about something. I asked him what was wrong but he said nothing. as soon as we got to the party he went straight to the backyard and started chugging beers. I stood with Tony trying to figure out what happened. about an hour later I went looking for Alex. I walked into the back, the first thing I saw his lips on Megan. my whole world fell apart. as my squeal/scream/yell was about to come out Alex pushed Megan off him and saw me. but now I was pissed. I forced myself out the door grabbing Tony. Screaming at him to drive me home now. me and Tony were in the front yard when Alex came bursting out. He started apologizing and yelling at me to listen to him. I scream right back “figure your life out, i’m done”
The next five months we’re what I thought the hardest months of my life. I cried so many tears for him. how could it end up like this, I had done everything for this guy. everything to keep him happy. everything I could. I thought we were in love, I thought he loved me. did our phone calls our kisses our hugs our words mean nothing? all these emotions and experiences and adventures and this whole time together didn’t change him at all? he threw it all away, for what? a kiss with some drunk slut. I didn’t really have any friends at school, any friends in general. I had no one but him, because I thought that was all I needed. I was broken, torn up, destroyed. I sat hour after hour day after day week after week broken because of what he did to me. slowly by slowly my life began to come back together. more time with some new found friends. more focus on school sports hobbies anything to keep my mind off him. I never told my new friends about Alex. I never spoke about him. I put on that fake smile for them and pretended like I had never loved him, that I had never had a boy like him in my life. because it was easier to run away from that pain than live with the sorrow so heavy in my broken heart.
A phone call. January 2008. I pick up. “hey its Alex can you meet me at our park” click. how many times had I dreamed of this moment? how many times had I played this scenario in my head? Alex comes running back to me apologizing with a thousand gifts, taking a hunger strike for me, doing something extreme. proving what I dreamed of hearing: Alex admitting that I was the best thing that ever happened to him. but I didn’t need that anymore, he broke my heart but made me tougher. I ached for him, his presence, his smell, his everything. but he would never know it. he turned me form this weak innocent girl into someone strong, or someone who could pretend they were strong. I threw my hair in a pony and put on my uggs. i walked to the park. When I saw you, you were beautiful. I had seen you very little at school passing in the hallways, and once when I went to the grocery store with my parents, but I never looked. I knew my heart couldn’t take it.
“hi” Alex said. I sat on the bench. a million thoughts filled my head.
how could you not fight for me? how could you let our relationship end like this? I gave you my everything why wasn’t in enough? why hadn’t you called these past five months? what have you been doing? but I said nothing. i stared forward, you stared at me. silence filled the air for a very long time until it all just exploded like vomit, word vomit. you said something about how your dad left when you were three and the night of the party he called asking to go to lunch that weekend. you sobbed. you yelled something along the lines of “how could a guy who was suppose to support, care, and protect me never show up to any games? when i was little and i did something good like get a touchdown or a good tackle i would look up in the crowds searching for him. how could he never help my mom when she was struggling? never show an ounce of love toward my family? then expect to go to lunch and catch up on old times. like we were fucking lost friends or something. how could a DAD give up his own son like he was an old toy. he never felt the heavy disappointed feeling each and every day that i felt. it filled my body. until i trained myself to forget him, completely. i learned how to live life without him in it.” he talked about how it was the worst feeling and how i had probably felt that with him and he was so sorry. how he had screwed up so bad how his vision became blurred, how crazy Megan was (FINALLY!) how she kissed him and how bad he felt. how each day he would dial my number then hang up. how sorry he was for not being there and protecting me like he should have. how seeing me every day and not being able to hold me was hell. he talked about how he thought alcohol could maybe fix him. he talked about a million other things, he must have talked for at least an hour straight.
I finally realized what he had been scared of, letting me in. trusting another person with his life. because he didn’t want to get hurt. not investing anything meant not loosing anything either.
He finally finished. not sure what to do i stood and faced him. and then i hugged him, so tight, forever. when we finally let go he was standing there smiling and suddenly everything felt okay.
We spent the next three months slowly trying to put our broken pieces back together. i was scared and hurt and confused. and so was he. I knew Megan meant nothing. he didn’t care for her, i could tell. but still he betrayed me. left me on my own. complete cut off. thrown into the world. it’s not something that can be forgiven or forgotten easily. we started with some texts, a phone call here and there, him coming over. very very slowly. we built up our trust. I began to forgive him and let the hurt be filled with new memories. he began to let me slowly into his heart. things could get hard and sometimes the past came out and we would fight. but each day made a us a little closer, things were getting better.
April 23, 2008 he texts me to meet him at our stairs. I go. He was standing there with this huge white stuffed bear. we sat down and he asked me to be his girlfriend. i said yes, i felt like if we could get through everything that happened we could get through anything. he told me the bear was for protection because he couldn’t be there every night to hold me.
may. june. july august. september. all great months. we continued to take things slow, but once we had the comfort of knowing we were “each others” again, things got even easier. the past faded and the present kept us happy. we went swimming and laughed and he taught me how to throw a football. he would watch me read. and we would kiss with everything we had. we tell each other everything. watch movies. cruise around. try new food. just do everything and anything. we would argue here and there about silly things, but we were young and in love and nothing could stop us. his senior was finally here and we were so happy. it’s like the timing was finally perfect for us. looking back from freshmen (his sophomore) year we had come such a long way, and with all our crazy family problems we felt like we deserved to feel this love. to have this experience. to be happy.
October 3, 2008 he calls me crying and asks me to go to the park. i run over there find him bawling in the sand. i immediately hug him. repeatedly asking him whats wrong telling him i love him. he gets up looks me in the eyes and says “Babe i have cancer.”
October was a beautiful month. he had shoulder cancer in his right shoulder, his throwing arm. he went through chemo, and seemed to be getting better. we spent alot of time in his room in that bed of his just laying there. me filling him in on school and everything. him listening and stroking my hair. at the end of october his hair began falling out. it was so hard to watch. but he was still the most handsome boy. sometimes we would walk to the park when he was feeling good. and enjoy the fading sunshine. we watched alot of movies, alot of classics. and i read a thousand books in that bed. but i stayed strong, for him. our first realtionship he was strong for me. showing me how to love myself by loving someone else. showing me how beautiful and important i was to the world. and now it was my turn. i would cook for him and tell him stories and treat him like nothing different. i gave him my heart that month. i showed him how important and beautiful he was to me. things were looking good.
November 7, 2008 he finds out, but does not tell me, that the cancer has spread to his brain and he has developed 5 tumors. he convinces the doctors to give him this one last weekend. that weekend he took me out to a really nice resturant the first night. we got all dressed up. then we came back to his house and watched a movie, i fell asleep in his arms. the next day we went to the beach in the morning. and then a muesum in the afternoon. i can’t put it into words, but the the whole weekend was perfect. our perfect weekend.
When monday came he told me about the tumors and was admitted into the hospital. I smiled and kissed him. I told him we would pull through it. that night I cried endlessly, so sad and scared for him. I was destroyed but i had to stay strong for Alex.
Things got worse very quick, everything was falling apart but we were staying strong. our love seemed to last through it all. even when Alex got really really sick, like deathly sick, I would hold his hand and tell him everything that was going on. That weekend, his final weekend, I gave him the white bear and told him it would protect him when I couldn’t. we cried. I gave him his final kiss november 16, 2008.
November 17, 2008 Alex dies in the early morning holding our bear, I get the phone call.
I thought our break up the first time was the worst pain, boy was I wrong. this pain, this huge hole in my heart was the worst feeling. i couldn’t move, couldn’t breath without him by my side. i needed him. life literally was moving while i was stuck in this moment. this depression. Alex was and had been my life since the first day I saw him in my freshman English class. it made me so sad to think of all the expierence he would never have, all the expierence we lost. he wouldn’t have his 18th birthday, never vote, never go to prom, or see his football team make it to the playoffs, never get to gradute, he would never get so many things. but why?he didn’t deserve this, none of it. he deserved the world. he had given me everything I had in life. he filled my life with happiness, with worth.
i ached for him, his scent, his kisses, his hugs, his love, his voice, his hands, his everything. i couldn’t leave my house, couldn’t do anything. i couldn’t function without him. all i wanted, dreamed, and thought about was him.
and so slowly, day after day, month after month, I got stronger. I continued to live for Alex. and our relationship continues, I visit him every week. I let him know what’s going on in my life and never forget to tell him I love him. he’s still the first person I run to when something happens. when I got into penn state he found out first. when my cousin came to live with my family he knew. I buy him lots of flowers, draw him pictures, write letters. I go to him for advice. he listens, like always so patiently. I visit our stairs every now and then. often walking to our park. and i read his last letter to me daily hugging my big white bear. I still am fully in love with Alex. he still means everything to me, and he is still my world. he still completes me as a person. he is still forever in my heart.
so this ones for the girls who think you’ll never find somebody. you will. for the girls with the broken heart, if he won’t fix it another guy will come along and put your heart back together, even better. and for the girls who have a boyfriend. don’t take him, or your realtionship for granted. love him, hold him tight. for the long-distance realtionships be greatful you get to hear his voice, or at least his thoughts expressed through his words. don’t brush off little kisses and hugs, because i would give up everything for one last kiss, one last conversation with Alex. be young, fall in love and once you find him. hold him close to your heart for as long as you can.
Alexander, my love, my baby, my life, stay strong I love you.