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Flashback - Paul

Get ready. This one's a massive downer. Especially for me.

I've been thinking a lot about my last boyfriend and best friend Paul. I miss him every day. We met by accident - a fluke of a computer virus. It was never meant to be, so it had to be fate. When we broke up, I wanted nothing more than to make up and be together with him again. I wanted it every day, in secret, through our post-breakup friendship, til the day he died.

First let me tell you about Brendan. I knew Brendan as the cool guy from Hot Topic who went to Vertex all the time, and always let me bum a cigarette. Maybe we exchanged emails because of some photos I took of him and his friends. He stole the camera from me once and took pictures at random. That was how I got my first photo of his best friend Paul.

That must be how he got my email address. A virus had sent a link to everyone on his contact list, so he sent a mass instant message to all of them, including me: "Vamp Tag tonight, meet at Jay's at midnight. Don't open the link I sent you. It's a virus."

After Vertex, I took a chance and met up with the greatest people I will ever know. We all had a cup of coffee, then drove out to a playground, one of the last wooden ones in Rochester, for my first and last game of Vamp Tag. I met Paul on top of the tunnel. He asked if I was a vamp or a wolf. "What do you think," I said with a wink as a slithered by, then 'bit' him, and he was mine. Who can remember which team won. We played a fantastic game. I wish we could have played more.

After the game, we went back to the diner for food and more coffee than I've ever slurped down in my life. Combined. Not since my days of Rocky Horror had I spent all night in a diner with great friends. Really, all night. Half of them called themselves The Breakfast Club for this reason. We stayed til 4am.

After our next group encounter, Paul invited me to his place for videogames. I liked that very much. I'd met my match at Tekken. We'd "sealed the deal (who the hell came up with that term?)" a couple weeks later. He told me everything a girl wants to hear. I'm beautiful, I'm perfect, he wanted to stay with me forever and ever. So many sweet things.

I won't go into the details of how we broke up, but it was hard, and we both crossed lines we didn't mean to cross.

We reunited months later with a much needed hug. He whispered how much he missed my hugs, and I squeezed tighter. From that moment, we became best friends.

Let me tell you about Paul. Before we started dating, Paul was the only friend I had who willingly came out to my house in Palmyra from Rochester (a 30-45 minute drive) just to see me. I had friends in walking distance who couldn't have been bothered. That's how he won me forever. When we watched movies or played videogames at his place, we'd make obscure Futurama references, and we understood. He knew exactly what I meant when I said I wanted to catch worms that made me super-intelligent and strong. That's how he won me forever. At Jay's diner, we stayed all night with a carafe of coffee, and finished sudoku and crossword puzzles together. We'd play chess for hours - sometimes, we'd play two or three boards at once. That's how he won me forever.

The last time I saw him, he explained a new equation he came up with, but couldn't remember one key component of it. He loved math, and I loved numbers and equations. We always tried coming up with complex equations for simple things. Sometime before dawn, I headed out for the night. My last words to Paul: "Show me the rest of that algebra equasion next time!" and we were gone from each other forever.

He called me a few days after, but I didn't pick up, and he didn't leave a message. I never called him back. And at 6:41am on February 25th, 2007, I got a call. I didn't pick up. The phone rang again, and I picked it up. Brendan told me that he broke into Paul's apartment upon a suspicion that something was wrong, and something was definitely wrong. He told me he was already gone when he found him. He had a seizure in his sleep. He stopped taking his epilepsy medication.

The funeral was nice. Warm, emotionally. I saw faces I hadn't seen in years. Faces I didn't know existed in Paul's world. It showed me how small my own world really is, which amazed me. My friend Brian held my hand the whole time. I couldn't let go even if he wanted to. Brendan's eulogy was the sweetest and most personal part of the evening. We gathered at Vertex after, and we held a wake in the smoking tent outside, sharing more stories while sharing Paul's favourite drink (Tequila Sunrise) and smoking his favourite brand of cloves. One more thing Paul loved to do was bring people together. Mission accomplished.

The following months were too hard to handle. I broke down at random times. I had to take a different route around town to avoid passing by Jay's. The first time I thought I was ready to pass by it again, I lost it. None of the gang ever really went back after that. Not regularly. We used to be there every single night. We still go there, and we still gather there on occasion, but it will never be the same. We can never be so tightly knit as before.

I sincerely believe Paul was my soul mate. Because it never stopped feeling like my soul had been torn in half that day.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 9th, 2014 06:18 am (UTC)
Sounds like he was a wonderful guy. I'm so sorry for you...It's hard to lose someone like that.
Jul. 9th, 2014 02:41 pm (UTC)
He really was great. Thank you.
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Jul. 9th, 2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm not going to say I'm glad there's someone else who knows how much it hurts... but thank you for the virtual hugs, and thank you for telling me you know when you really do know (because we all know that one person who tries to compare their papercut with your severed limb, know what I mean?).
<3<3<3 Hug <3<3<3
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Jul. 9th, 2014 02:31 pm (UTC)
That's awful, it's so sad he's gone.

I hope you are able to find something in life that you can do or create for him, something like a tribute to him. He seems really lovely. xo
Jul. 9th, 2014 02:42 pm (UTC)
It crossed my mind yesterday that I should draw him... I might.
Thank you <3
Jul. 9th, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC)
I remember you writing about him back when we just got to know each other. I'm so sorry, he sounds like such a wonderful person ...
Jul. 9th, 2014 07:55 pm (UTC)
My one regret (besides not answering his call or calling him back, I mean) is never posting photos of us, because there are none that exist, except maybe on his hard drive, which, who knows who ended up with that...
Jul. 9th, 2014 04:42 pm (UTC)
Oh gosh, how awful! I can't imagine experiencing the death of any close friends. =(
Jul. 9th, 2014 07:53 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, it's almost normal in my life - my first boyfriend, my last boyfriend, three best friends, and never ever does it ever become expected or get any easier :(
Jul. 10th, 2014 12:21 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry you've had to experience a loss like that..:(
Jul. 10th, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry, hon.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )