Pay My Respects

I was watching a youtube video today. It was It’s Alex Clark’s video about how he dated his babysitter.

He touched on somethings in that video, and one of them was family. For whatever reason, I don’t mourn family during the time they die. Well, I do, but I always mourn the people that matter most to me during Christmas time.

Every year, me, my brother, and my mom go to church for the Christmas sermon. And the choir plays Christmas music. And I have to step out because it reminds me of everyone.

I do the same walk, as the music starts. I take a good look at my younger brother and walk to the restroom. I stare into the mirror and just burn that image of him into my memory, as if it were my last.

I guess I consider winter the end. As in, the end of an era. I think about my lasts; last goodbyes, last hellos, last laughs, last cries, etc.

Basically, Christmas is my time to reflect. Did I love Elizabeth enough? Did I support my brother enough? Did I meet mom and dad’s expectations? Did I keep my promise to my grandparents to be the best me I can be?

And then the sadness hits me. I imagine the funerals of grandma and grandpa again. I cry silently in that restroom, as no one can help me. I think of graduation, for the moment of silence for my friend, Joe. He took his own life before we graduated, the summer before Senior year started. I think about his twin, Sam, and how he’s going to walk alone forever and it hurts so much.

I think about all of the friends I made, and out hellos and goodbyes. I think of the failed relationships, the ones I wanted but couldn’t keep. And it just pains me to remember such love leave me.

But I get my composure back. I open my camera roll in my phone and see a picture of me and my brother on the beach in Ocean City Boardwalk, at the Atlantic Ocean. I think about how we are on top of the world. I think of how much story has yet to be written.

Then I flip to the last time me, Jared, and Cameron, my cousin, went to Santa Cruz. I remember the freedom we had as kids, believing in what we believed in, and taking it with us to our adulthood. I remember the games we made up and the bike rides we took and the video games we critiqued and the animes we watched, laughed, and cried with.

Then a swipe to me and Elizabeth at the Crocker Art Museum. I look at her face and I see all of the trust she as in me. I know that this relationship was a choice that took her life on a different path. I know that this life is an anomaly for both of our timelines, a glitch in the system. There is so many possibilities for the both of us, and we’re willing to try anything. Of course, we ask each other if we are ok all of the time. Comfort and communication are our golden rule and the reason why we are together for so long, with our 3rd year anniversary on the horizon.

This Christmas, I’m following the norm. I’m paying my respects, spending time with friends and family, and starting off this year with a leap.

Jared and I started a tradition where we jumped off of something at midnight, as it symbolizes we leave the previous year in the past, and welcome this year, diving straight in.

This is a love letter to anyone that has met me. Here I pay my respects.

-J.E.

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