You’re gone. And everything has changed.
But nothing has.
Lots of folks still say and do disappointing things. There are very few people like you in the world. People who do a lot but don’t do it for the glory. People who are too busy doing things to notice if anyone else notices them.
Who work hard to take care of others and improve the world. And don’t give a shit if they get praised for it.
Honestly, most people peacock. Scrounge for credit for the smallest things. Even for stuff they didn’t actually do. It gets exhausting.
I admired that about you. That you did a lot and didn’t care if anybody knew about it. I knew you my entire life and never once heard you brag. You had a way of sneaking up on people, too. You were quiet, hard to read. A little intimidating. Didn’t say an awful lot. But every now and then you’d open your mouth and say something amazing.
I always felt so ridiculous next to you. Like a hyperactive jabbering fool.
And yet I always found myself wanting to spend more time with you.
Sometimes I wonder if that’s why I’ve gravitated towards introverts my entire life. If somehow I need that foil. Because you set the terms by being the way you are.
There were very few people like that in the world before you passed. And now that you’re gone, there’s one fewer.
I’m good until I think about that. I can wake up in the morning, still bleary from sleep, and shuffle through the motions of another day. If I keep my focus immediate, only address what’s right in front of me, I’m okay. I get some coffee. Sit at my writing desk. Look out the window.
And I’m okay. Everything’s the right volume. The right speed. Nothing seems to be amiss.
It’s only when I remember that you’re no longer in this world that I’m struggling again. The colors recede. My throat swells closed. Before I know it, I have those nasty stinging tears in my eyes, burning like battery acid. The ones that only people who’ve been crying for days have. The kind of crying that saps your humanity and leaves you feeling acidic. Robotic. Mechanical.
You’re gone. Everything has changed. But in another sense, nothing has. Nothing I wish would vanish has. Only one of the people I cherished most.