I Want You Around
Without knowing what lies ahead, I try my best to start each day with a bit of positivity, an overflow of love followed by a hope and a prayer so powerful that it will shake the universe and send a miracle down straight from heaven. Life is known for throwing curveballs without fair warning and the impact can be so strong it will take your breath away.
Summer nights in Georgia were everything. The weather was just right and it gave us a reason to be outside. I remember everything about this night like it was yesterday. My best friend and her husband were hosting movie night in the backyard. How could I miss it?! I wanted to spend as much time as I could with friends because I was packing to move to Indiana in a few weeks. So off to movie night I went with only expectations to have an amazing time. Had no idea it would be a night that would forever change my life.
Meeting someone new can be scary, but it's also really exciting. We sat and talked for hours, about life, music, what brought me to Georgia and what was causing me to leave. The promise was my movie would be much better than what he chose. It would be something to laugh about for the rest of the night because we couldn't remember either movie. Allowing ourselves to embrace something that felt good and that was simply being ourselves. It's not often that you meet someone who makes you feel as if you have known them for years. When you get that feeling you want to hold onto it, forever. You were different and I knew then that I wanted you around.
As part of our normal conversation, you would always ask how I was and I wanted to know the same of you. You were considerate in that way. When you told me you had a few health challenges ahead, it was with shock and sadness to hear you say the diagnosis was cancer. At this moment you never want to be the person who says the wrong thing, but what is the right thing to say?
I'm here for you in whatever way I can be, and I am praying.
As the weeks and months continued forward your optimism and positivity shined through and you sounded like yourself again. I hoped and prayed that everything would be ok and I claimed it to be so. Young, strong, and determined to fight for your life I was happy, inspired by you, and looking forward to what was to come with you and I. Wishing I could have been there to make you smile, to share a laugh or two, to give you a hug and to hold your hand. Often taking time for granted, we never truly know just how precious it is.
"When are you coming back to Atlanta?" I know that it won't be before the end of the year, the holidays are so busy and I'm still getting settled, but it will surely be early in the new year. "Well, do you have a passport?" I most certainly do! Ok then, let's go somewhere, plan a trip and just live life and get away." Yes, I would love that so much so let the planning begin!
When I heard the news that you were gone my heart sank. Feelings of anger, pain, guilt, and confusion that literally felt like my heart was breaking into a million pieces. Why didn't I visit sooner and why couldn't we have taken that trip when you mentioned it? As the tears continued to fall I went back through our messages and read them from beginning to end. I looked at your pictures and smiled a time or two. Wondering if the tears would stop, I remembered the laughs we shared, the memory of you, and finally drifted off to sleep.
As I woke this morning I felt good. Knowing that you were no longer in pain made my heart happy and for that I am thankful. I am thankful to my friends for introducing me to you. You were an extraordinary person, gentle, kind, sweet, and a perfect gentleman. Your hugs were everything right in the world. A true class act. As a believer in the promises of God, I know that you are reunited with your loved ones, and I rejoice in that. My prayers are with your children, family, and numerous friends who are mourning your loss.
I don't believe in chance encounters. I know that each meeting is for a reason. Maybe as a lesson to love better, to hug tighter, and to cherish the times. Whatever the reason, I leave with a heart full of thanks.
With nothing but love, I will forever miss you and never forget you Hasan. May you rest in eternal peace. 🕊
With a stretch and yawn as if I had just completed an Olympic-themed hibernation event I woke to a new day and a brand spanking new year! I don't feel any different. I'm not magically better at any one thing than I was on yesterday. I slept for most of the New Year's Eve festivities and it truly felt perfectly normal for a change. There is a small bit of jealously watching those who had a blowout party and danced the night away. Then I am reminded of the times when I woke on the 1st day of the new year with a rocking hangover so that less than 1 percent of jealousy I mentioned earlier has quickly diminished into nothingness. Besides, I am 49 and have no time for regrets and sideways ginger ale sips from the sofa all day.
I love new beginnings. I always have. The start of a new movie, a fresh new pair of boots, a crisp bag of chips just opened to a perfect level of freshness, and of course seeing the Amazon delivery truck outside my house, yet again. If 50 First Dates was a person waiting for that blue truck to hang a right at the corner and stop in front of my house, it'd most certainly be me. It's all in what moves you. I'm pretty simple on most days. I require normal things and try to give as much as I receive. As a writer whose mind is wildly teetering between sanity vs insanity, I believe I have finally found my balance.
Writing gives me the freedom to escape from the reality of life when I choose and for that gift, I am forever thankful.
Reading through Happy New Year texts and social media posts this morning with one eye open while searching for my reading glasses makes my heart feel happy. After the past couple of years, it's no surprise that we all want what feels like normal. What tastes like fantasy and what makes you dream like you did when you allowed your thoughts to run completely free. So how do we get back to all of that? It's simple, you gotta allow yourself to. Let go of what you feel you shouldn't be doing just because someone told you it was silly or because you are afraid of all of the great things that might happen. One foot in front of the other is how I plan to step through life. It isn't always rose petals perfectly laid, one because my cats would never allow me to be that great, but it is Chapter One and you can write it, however, your heart desires. Go on an adventure and amaze yourself with what is waiting for you.
The deeper question here is, how much longer do I have to wish everyone I encounter a Happy New Year?! My cutoff is somewhere between the end of today or February 1st. Hey, what can I say I'm a sucker for giving well wishes.
With love, light, and an overflow of blessings, I am wishing you the best that 2022 has to offer. Sending you positive vibes and teleporting catchy beats you won't be able to erase from your memory no matter how many tequila shots you have.
AJ is a creative writer and storyteller writing from her home in Indiana.
"This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." -Neil Gaiman