…to be continued from Moments 2.
Like I said in part one, I could feel Michael. It was weird. I always KNEW, without a doubt, when he was going to come into my work to visit me. I knew when he was going to randomly pop by the house. I knew, from miles away, when he was sad or having a bad day or when he was out, getting too drunk. I knew the days that the demons were fighting him, and I could feel when they were laying dormant, temporarily leaving him be. I knew all of this without words, and I think he sometimes knew them about me. While that was so very special, this may just be the thing that ultimately brought us to our knees. Not long later, I stopped being able to feel him. I’m not sure who let go first, and I’m not sure that it even matters anymore. I will get to that part at the end.
The night that I first fell for him was the first time we had ever spoken alone. It was late and I was sitting at the bar alone. Completely alone because I was managing the bar at the time and shut it down. It’s an outdoor place, and I was winding down with a whiskey and Hemingway’s, The Sun Also Rises when for no reason at all, I looked up. It was the first time my Michael sixth sense came into effect. I knew that he was walking up even though I hadn’t heard anything and even though I didn’t know him very well at this point. Before I could even see him, I hear, “Caitlin!” and then he emerged from the darkness, still in his steel-toed work boots, white t-shirt and paint splattered pants. So I put my book aside, and we spoke for a while, but then he picked up my book and started reading it aloud. For about ten minutes, without interruption, we sat there and I listened to him read to me. I don’t know why, but it felt so vulnerable… just him, me, the night sky and a story about a lost generation. I thought it was one of the sexiest things I had ever been a part of and we had never even kissed at this point. But now he had hooked me. After that, Michael started coming around alone more often, and by the next week, our romance would begin.
Later in our relationship, on some nondescript day, I was particularly bad. He happened to call me and normally I wouldn’t answer my phone during one of these crazy spells, but I knew that he was the only person who would know what to do. I am not sure exactly what I said on the phone, I doubt I was able to form real words, I just remember him saying, “I’ll be right there.” And he was. Less than three minutes later, he just walked into my house, I met him right at the door, and fell into him. He held me in a way that I don’t know anyone has before or since, and for a moment, I felt like I melted into him. You know that feeling when you love someone so much, and no matter how smooshed together your bodies are, it doesn’t feel close enough? You feel like you want to melt into that person? That morning, with Michael holding me as I cried over my bullshit, it is the only time that I can remember, when it actually did feel like I had melted into someone.
He didn’t say anything except, “You feelin’ it today?” He didn’t ask me what was wrong, or if I was okay or if I wanted to talk. He just said, “you feelin’ it today?” That’s possibly my most cherished memory of him. I just shook my head yes with my face still buried in his neck as he kissed my forehead and tears away, and that was all we said about it. I knew that he knew what I was feeling. He helped me catch my breath, exhaling loudly, breathing with me and shaking it off with me, and then sending me on my way. I had to pull it together and go into work. I don’t think we ever spoke of that morning again, and I don’t know what would have happened had he not been there. There were multiple crazy spells like that which I went through, and he was always there for me; so much stronger than me.
I loved Michael for his honesty. He was never afraid of hurting my feelings. He would tell me that I was fucking nuts and that there were things that he didn’t like about me. He did not mean this in a mean way, it’s not like this was said during fights, and that made me like him even more. We were laying in bed together one night in silence, which was typical of us, words were always minimal, and he said to me, “You know that there are parts of you that I really love. But then there are parts of you that I really don’t like.”
He didn’t need to say it, because I already knew. And he knew that I knew, but there are some things that should be said out loud. I know that it might not sound like it to you, the reader, but it was one of the most beautiful things anyone has ever said to me. Later that night I said to him, “You know that there are parts of me that really love you too right? And parts of me that just can’t.” And he said yes, because he already knew. And I knew that he knew, but I’m glad I said it. That was the only time him and I ever used the L word.
As we continued in our dark cycle, we had some truly precious times, and I wish that I could remember it all better, but those times are such a haze. Dark days. We planned to drive to New Orleans together, our favorite city, to see a band play and stay overnight. The date was approaching, but for some reason, Michael and I weren’t really talking. I can’t remember what happened, but I stopped being able to feel him. We never really had “fights,” but there was a couple of times when we both knew that we needed a few days from one another for whatever jaded reason. Whatever it was that we disagreed about this particular time, it was the closest we had come to a fight, and we didn’t see or speak to one another for a week. It wasn’t ugly or malicious, but that’s just how we were. Minimal words.
The day came when we would have left to go to New Orleans, and Michael shows up at my work. I couldn’t sense him this time, and I hadn’t been able to for a couple of weeks. He was there, expecting me to get in the car and drive away with him. While I should have known he would pull something like that, I assumed the whole trip was off because of the weird state our relationship was in. I told him I couldn’t go with him. He walked away, hurt and silent. I tried calling him, but I knew it was over. That was it, that was the moment that we died. I saw him walking his dog a few days later, and I got out of the car and we had a very short, amicable conversation that resembled something of closure, and of course, both of us apologizing. I shed some tears, and he hugged me for the last time, and I got back in my car and drove away.
Since then, we have run into each other here and there, and there are no hard feelings. We both understood each other too well for there to be bitterness. We were in it for that time and place and we never tried to change each other; we just were. Michael was my lifeline at a time in my life when I would have otherwise drowned, and this is all I can give him; just some words on a page. I don’t know if he will ever read this, and I hope he already knows all of it, but sometimes it’s good to write it down anyway. So raise your glass to Michael, the boy whose heart sets in the West.