I hold onto the paper for a moment longer than I should when I hand it to you. It's a mission assignment, and for all I know, I could very well be sending you to your death. I never forget that, I can't forget that- and it worries me. I'm worried that I'll never see your eye curl up in that smile again when you thank me and turn towards the door. I'm afraid that your "I'll be home for dinner" is that last thing I'll ever hear you say and that that last thing will be a lie. I'm terrified that the glimpse of your back as you close the door behind you is the last part of you I'll ever see. I would never want to know for sure that you were going to die, because if I knew, you would never get out that door and I would never be able to let go for you as long as I lived. If I didn't know, you would be able to go, but the last part would still be true. I'm sure you know how hard it is to move on. Isn't that why you still go to the memorial stone every morning? They've forgiven you, but you can't forgive yourself for what you think you could have changed. It would be the same for me; I'd curse myself and ask why I ever handed you that S-ranked mission. I know I'd take on blame I didn't deserve because I would deny that there had been no possible way to change it. "There was nothing you could have done," people would say, but I wouldn't believe them. I know it doesn't make sense, but it's true.
Your spirit would haunt me every day. You would latch onto me, but I wouldn't be able to feel your arms around my waist. You'd whisper how much you loved me, but I wouldn't be able to hear a word. But within me, you'd be present. Even if I numbed myself inside and pretended to forget, your memory would still be there, even if it was buried at the back of my mind. It's impossible to forget someone you love so much. I don't know why I'd try.
I know too well what it feels like when you lose someone you love. I was young when I first felt it, but it's something you never forget. There's that pain in your chest that doesn't come from crying alone. There's the numb feeling inside of you that comes with denial. It makes you wonder why you're even crying at all. After all, you can't feel it. You know something's wrong, but almost don't remember what it is…because you don't want to believe it's true. You want to believe that you'll see that person again, that this is all just a bad dream; you're just imagining this- when you wake up, everything will be okay, just the same as it was before. You're afraid of being stuck in this nightmare; everything is real- you'll never wake up, things are different now and can never return to the way they were again. They'll stay still forever, just like the one you love. You torment yourself with the question "Why?"
They're gone, and you feel weak because you know there's nothing you can ever do to bring them back again. You're powerless. You hit the wall again and again until your hands are bruised. You hug your knees towards your chest and rest your head on them, letting your tears soak the fabric of your pants. You repeat "no, no, no…" until your voice is too broken to croak the word anymore.
If you love me, don't ever let me suffer like that again. I wouldn't be able to handle it. I couldn't handle it the first time- my heart's still hanging in fragments, but mostly healed, thanks to you. I know you'd never let it break. You protect me and make me stronger, just as I do to you. We'd never let harm come to the other. You tell me that you'll always be there, in my house, in my life, in my dreams when I sleep. You tell me never to stop living while I can still breathe. I know you'd want me to keep going, to stay alive even after part of me has died with you. There'll always be something to look forward to ahead of me, even when it's too dark to see and there's no way to really be sure it's there. There's still life after death. You're the part of me that reminds me why I care about that.
In Memory of Jason