subject line: the ex-girlfriend of that "young guy in the car accident that died"

 

Florida

So here I am, thinking about a night three weeks and three days ago. Multiple pictures of us together hung on a wall at a wake that I didn’t attend. Faraway friends and family tiptoe around me. My grandma said, “I didn’t want to send a card because I didn’t want to make you more upset...” Ouch. But maybe grandmas aren’t meant to send sympathy cards to their granddaughters who are now the ex-girlfriend of that “young Connecticut guy in the car accident that died.”

I went to church the morning after I found out, hundreds of miles away from where you passed but ironically only a few miles away from you were born. Looking around at the packed Friday morning service with dozens of Floridians 50 years older than me, I couldn’t help but be angry at the thought that they had a chance to live a full life. Why didn’t you? The guy who bought me pretty dresses from Express and took me out dancing. The guy who hosted a picnic for the two of us on his college green. The guy who would make me breakfast at midnight, running outside in flip flops in “the city with the most snow in 2013,” just to cook me french toast at the fraternity kitchen next door.

We’re all guilty of googling our ex’s name, right? But how many of us have prepared for seeing his name in news article after news article and “died” in the subject line...and an obituary to follow? It aches me to my core. I wanted you to find love again, the kind of permanent, lifelong love we all strive for. I wanted to watch you shine in your career from afar. I can’t look at white Corvettes. I can’t watch movies with car accidents. Dr. Strange was on TV the other night and again, I thought, how could he live but not you? My saddest tears fall as I think of your incredible mother, so strong, yet someone who shouldn’t have to face this. I will continue to pray.

I can count on one half of my hand how many people I know that have an ex-boyfriend who passed away. I am one of two not-quite-a-widow-but-loved-someone-hard-who-died-at-25. Our two year relationship wasn’t the best, we weren’t meant to be. But, you taught me how to make damn good guacamole, how to love fluffy dogs, how to play badminton in your sprawling backyard, how to sneak a Corona at the Mexican bar at 20 years and 11.5 months...and how to find happiness and peace in our college lives.

I committed to sponsoring a boy from Central America the morning you died. Little did I know that as one life that I loved left, another life to love entered in. I’ll carry on, eating my greens and doing push ups and enjoying life like you did. I’ll try not to let the tears after midnight (and after tonight) get the best of me. Thanks for being my college boyfriend. Cheers to you, JP.