Today would have been your birthday. I don't want to say I think about you every day because that would be a lie. I didn't think about you every day when you were alive, though probably every week at least, because that's when we talked, when we were talking. I think about you in passing probably once or twice a month, and intensely (and with longing for the good parts of you, which I miss) maybe every other month now. Ten years.
I remember a lot. I remember good things. I realize that, as is my way, I shut a lot of sad things in a room that I try not to visit but I do try to remember that they're there. Not to make anybody better than they really were. Sometimes you were cruel, sometimes you came very close to hurting me. I usually didn't let you close enough to risk that, and there was a reason I held back, and I try to remember that. When you died I wasn't sure whether I had the right to mourn you, because we were never tangled and messy and I didn't know whether twenty years of visits and letters and phone calls was enough. I tried to talk myself out of my tears.
I've been thinking lately about pain and about how if we numb ourselves to it or remove it from our lives we feel considerably stronger, but it leaves us incredibly vulnerable to any pain that gets past those barriers. I think about the pain you were in, and your glorious anger, and how much I learned about pushing through pain from you. Only to watch you become someone who numbed yourself into a stupor from which you only sometimes emerged. You were hardly ever angry anymore, which was good in some ways, though it made you sloppy in other ways. You were much less alive. And then you were dead.
I mourn you at your most alive, man who made me laugh so hard it hurt. I mourn who you were when you became a person who couldn't keep up with me half the time, your once-quicksilver wit flashing out to remind me of what it was like to be in the presence of someone that sharp, then fading back into tarnish. I mourn who you might be now, the person I'll never know, who would have been one of the few who knew me then. What would you think of that? What would you think of this?
Ten years. I'll always love you. I'll always be angry that you're gone.