A friend of mine has been bringing her to the forefront to my mind. (Which is not her fault at all, if anything I was due.)This article is kind of my scream therapy to deal with the torrent of emotions I have been dealing with for the last few weeks.
Nothing ever prepared me for the day where I would meet Feather. I’ve written about Feather on this site before. With the memory of this beautiful and vibrant woman rest the only regrets that I have in my life. I will always have them, and I will never forgive myself. I’d like it known that I was not a good boyfriend when I was in high school. I was narcissistic to the point of semi-psychotic delusion, and was really just wrapped up in the idea of my own gratification. Years later, not much has changed, but I am at least willing to admit that there are a select few whose needs outweigh my own.
Anything I would say to comfort myself would really just be an apotropaic platitude, quite simply a delusion, an excuse to try and escape the mounting guilt that I have regarding this beautiful and adaptive woman. That she has passed puts a nail in the coffin of content redemption. It’s been over ten years, yet the pain is still so near, I sometimes get sucked into such a cage of depression that I don’t even realize what gifts have been given to me by fortune. Some of my friends have been able to move beyond her death, and while I admire the superhuman effort to accomplish this, it is something I am not capable of. It should be noted though, that I have no intention of moving beyond it. I have grown quite comfortable with the idea of torturing myself about her.
I abandoned her. As inadvertent as it was, I’m sure this is how her friends who are aware of my existence think of my actions, if I ever pass their thoughts at all. (I have no reason to believe that I do, though I will admit that my importance was never really very potent with her circle of friends.) I moved on to live my life thinking that I had no further place in hers any longer. Had I felt like I was deserving of her love I would probably not have met the subsequent women that would have such a negatively dramatic impact on my life. Axiomatically, I probably never would have met my wife and never had my daughter, so I suppose I should be happy that my cowardly actions at least had some kind of good outcome.
When she contracted cancer, she had been asking for me through our network of mutual friends. Eventually, I got word of it through my then girlfriend Angela. Because I didn’t want her thinking that the only reason that I was speaking to her was because she was sick, I didn’t answer her summons. When she was in remission later that year (I’m probably wrong about the time frame) I didn’t answer because I didn’t want her to think that I was only talking to her because she was cancer free. None of these modes of thinking make sense to me now, and truth be told, I’m not sure they made sense to me at the time either. All I had was an unfounded emotional conviction that she was better off not having me in her life. I later found out that my silence was responsible for a number of tears to be shed on her end.
When she died, she died thinking that I wanted nothing to do with her. The reality was that I was a 22 year old asshole who never gave any thought to what my actions did to someone. One night, my girlfriend went to our mailbox in Clearwater, Florida and brought in a letter from my mother. In this letter, I learned of Feather’s passing. I absolutely snapped. Angela, my other girlfriend Michelle (don’t ask, it’s a long story) and I wept for hours and I punched a cabinet repeatedly, breaking my hand in the process in my grief. At that point, I knew she died thinking I had abandoned her.
It was THAT particular moment that I learned my greatest lesson of life. Sometimes your regrets are spawned from what you fail to do or say, rather than what you do or say. To this day, I feel I deserve to suffer for what I did not do for her. All I had to do was pick up the phone, and I would have saved her so much grief. All I had to do was just show that I gave a shit. All I had to do was stick my head out of the bullshit microcosm of my bullshit life for 10 seconds to acknowledge someone who I learned too late, was the woman I had held as the absolute standard of what beauty and vibrance. All I had to do was SOMETHING.
I mentioned her in my book Ladies First, because she was the absolute pinnacle of what the concept of “woman” means to me, and this hasn’t changed. She will always be all things to me.
When I was in my senior year of high school, the choir of which I was a part, had a concert where we sang a 4 part arrangement of “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel. Unbeknownst to the rest of the singers and audience, during the entire performance of that song, Feather and I held hands. A few hundred people were in the auditorium, and yet her and I were the only ones that existed. At one point during the song, we glanced at each other, out of the corner of our eyes and caught each other doing it. We shared a moment that I will never be able to forget as long as I live.
I wish I could build a time machine so I could go back in time and tell my younger self what I was doing, and what would happen so I could find some way to avert the chain of events. At least I would have told myself to hold her tighter when I was with her. I would have told myself to call her. I would have told myself to just be a goddamned man and deal with my emotions. All I can do right now is cry into my pillow and profusely apologize to an eternally vivid memory.
I have loved her since 1996, and I still love her. I’m still in love with her. I think I always will be. It wasn’t hard to feel that way about her. She personified love. She was love, made manifest in the ephemeral body of a gossamer angel. She was many things to many people, but that is how I will always remember her.
I would like to get to the point in my l life where I don’t feel I deserve the misery I inflict on myself. The only thing that gives me comfort is the fact that I realize that the way I am is self-destructive and maladaptive. Cherish those you have in your life while you have them. The day may come when you don’t have them anymore. Hug everyone a little tighter and a little longer. Spread a little bit of happiness when you can. When you think you shouldn’t call someone, call them. Finally, never let go of those who are worth the struggle.
I only wish I knew where she was buried so that I could pay my respects, if only posthumously.
This trite sadist, this god of yours. Raping all redemption from a vivid memory. This emptiness, that I abhor the only stark companion in my cage of apathy. The dream is far from over, as long as days get colder, I won’t deny your base sadistic need, to spill the only blood that I have yet to bleed.
Johnathan Bane – “Chasm of Nihilism”