I’m Sorry. A short story.

I live off emotion.

I’m one of those friends that freaks you out by knowing exactly what’s wrong and why you don’t want to talk about it, even though you’re pulling off Oscar-winning acting to the rest of the world. Because of this I can really put myself in other’s shoes. It’s so easy for me that I often have trouble getting through the rest of my day if one of my friends is really down.

I’ve seen a lot. Been a sounding wall for people going through all sorts of things. Usually staying silent about my own troubles. I usually take stories, from my life, and write them down rather than tell someone why I’m sad. I also take my friend’s stories and write them. The result is usually a mash-up that illustrates a lot of different stories.

Sometimes, once in a blessed while, those stories carry so much heat, breath, reality and emotion in them I can’t read them without feeling the story. Becoming so engrossed in it, so happy, excited, nervous or sad that I feel as if I’ve just lived it. I only have a precious few of those stories. Most of them I’m not ready to share. This one though I think I can manage to. So here it is.

“I’m Sorry”

I don’t like it when you’re high
I don’t like it when you’re drunk
Unless I’m drinking too
But I’m one year sober, and unwilling to fuck up
So how about you try not to do those things so much
It’s not like I want you to stop completely
Those things aren’t wrong
In moderation they’re just fine
But every night is far too much.
I’m sorry, I won’t be here to help forever.

You never listen to me
Now you’re sick, you look like hell
The doctor says your body is 50 years old
You’re 21, stop and think of what you’re doing
Think past your pain for one minute
Look at me, look at me, look at me dammit
Look at your mother, grandmother, brother
We love you more than you appreciate
They may stick around .
I’m sorry, but I won’t much longer.

I told you today that I’m leaving
And unlike the last time I won’t be back
You yelled, you punched a wall
You even cried a little
We talked, I cried a lot
I tried to explain but that same
Dumb blank expression showed on your face
The same one you get when I beg you to stop drinking
The one that tells me you’re not really listening.
I’m sorry, I have to go.

I’m leaving today
Flying 4,000 miles away
You didn’t come to say goodbye
I’m glad you weren’t there
Because you didn’t have to see me cry
And for the millionth time you proved me right
Right that I’ve wasted 17 years of my life on
Someone who cared more for his beer
Than anyone or anything.
I’m sorry, I won’t talk to you for two years.

I’m three years without a smoke, pop or drop
I saw you just four months ago
Despite myself my heart still skipped a beat
You made me smile through my tears
I came back for a funeral
You were there too
And the silence between us stopped
You were sober, and healthy
We fell right back into our old ways.
I’m sorry, I had to leave again.

Another year and so much happened
You were bent over your work
I was absorbed by mine
4,000 miles of land, and four hours between us
We still managed to talk everyday
You wanted to come live with me
Or me to come back and live with you
We kept talking
No moves were made either way.
I’m sorry, nothing ever happened.

Six months after that
I was talking about coming back
You were sipping beer again
I was worried and couldn’t help
Fearing that it was always just one more beer
Before that stupid blank look would appear
You assured me that this time
Your control was just fine
Nothing could have convinced me that was true.
I’m sorry, there were months of silence again.

Tables turned two months later
You were begging me to listen
I had my own blank expression
As I spent two hours
Reading every pleading e-mail
And listening to every desperate message
Because your brother told me
What I had feared most was true
You were the one leaving this time.
I’m sorry, I should have known.

The way things were
Was the way they would never be again
I had resent over wasted years
You had resent over my tears
We couldn’t say anything we wanted to anymore
I knew that this was your time
Your time to go away
Your time to be silent
The only sound left was the life support beeping.
I’m sorry, I didn’t even come back then.

Just two weeks after your brother
Made me listen to you
Just two weeks where we really,
Finally, understood each other
The doctor who told you at 21 that you were 50
Told your mom you could still hear everything
A phone held to your ear
I finally said the words both of us needed to hear
“I love you.”
“I’m sorry.”