The nice thing about having so few readers is that I can comfortably expose myself and nobody will notice. It’s like the old question of whether a tree falling in an empty wood makes any sound. The answer, of course, is yes. And I know when my unedited and unfiltered Teagan Speak hits the airwaves, I make sounds too.
Tonight I am sitting at home, a little tired, finding it hard to engage. So as usual I wonder why unlike most normal, healthy 28-year olds I am not out at some bar, or dancing, or seeing a show. Those answers are exceptionally complicated, and it’s actually not rooted so much in my very odd anti-social behavior, which really isn’t best described as that but it is the easiest way to explain how disconnected I feel sometimes. I am introspective today, and I am opening up inside. That means I take to the proverbial pen.
It will surprise people to learn I was in love once. Like truly in love. And the effect she had on me was pretty profound. It’s how I know when I care about people today.
Her name was Nicole. I met her a few years ago in Manhattan, while I was going to school. She was this amazing thing, raven hair, fawn colored eyes, shorter than me but then everyone is. She had a fire to her, that sparked a beauty that I cannot describe. I also haven’t found its equal.
When I met her, she was probably the last person anyone would have ever thought I would have been attracted to. I was a hipster, a hippie, a Chucks wearing tie dyed urbanite who loved art and words and music and the gritty side of the human personality. Nicole was a party girl. I wasn’t a party girl.
We talked a lot back then. Her persona always talked about the parties, and the dates, and the drinking, and the fun. She told me she had a volatile relationship with her mother, and that she really wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do. In short, she opened up, week after week at our little bar, and shared things with me she didn’t share with too many people, if any at all. Week after week, I feel deeper and deeper for her, but I never said anything.
One day, New Years Eve, I invited her to my home in the West Village for a party I was having. She said she’d come, she never did. For a lot of reasons I lost touch with her then. Maybe it was because I was getting into my studies. More likely it was because I felt rejected, and my fragile personality didn’t handle it well. But come around Memorial Day I saw her again, at the same bar I always found her in. And again we talked.
I asked her why she didn’t show up to my party, and remember being petrified of the answer. She told me, rather frankly it was because she was afraid she was falling in love with me. I was shocked, but I still didn’t act. I think I hugged her. I know I left without doing anything.
About three weeks later, after I decided I was an idiot for not telling her how I felt, I decided to call her at work, and set something up where I might be able to do that. I never got her, and the receptionist who answered the phone sounded a little weird about the fact that I’d called. She didn’t know me, so I knew it couldn’t be me, but I hung up anyways, and went on about my day. About a week later I went back to the bar, hoping I’d find her. What I found was our bartender, who asked me if I had heard about Nicole. Turned out a few days after I had seen her, Nicole had died in a motorcycle accident. Not only did I not know, I also missed the funeral.
Needless to say, I was devastated. Something died in me that day, and to this day I know it did. I worked up the courage to write her mom a letter. I found out how from the obituary, sent it to the funeral home and they agreed to pass it on. I poured out everything, how Nicole had dreams, and hopes, how she loved her mom and her family, and how she hated the life she had been leading. I ended the note by saying, “I guess now I know, too late, that I loved your daughter.”
I don’t know why I put a phone number down. I was surprised when she called. We had lunch and we talked about her daughter. She gave me mementos and told me if her daughter had lived, I was the kind of girl she would have liked me to end up with.
It’s been years since Nicole died. I still go to her grave twice a year, in June when she died and in December on or about her birthday, the 6th, and leave a single rose. I linger there. I talk to her. I feel reasonably whole.
I have a lot of reasons why I struggle getting close to people, but I think despite the violence in my life, despite the illness, the principle reason for my disconnect is because of the loss I felt losing her – the loss I still feel. I don’t open up much to people, but I opened up to her – just not enough. And somehow I think that it’s because of that awful moment when I failed. I failed her, when I think I could have helped her. I failed myself because even if only in the midst of a moment, I could have had joy.
So why do I sign “Peace and Love” to all of my posts? Peace is what I hope she has found. I don’t believe much in a Heaven, at least not like others do, but I do like to believe she found peace. Love is what I will always, always feel when I think of her. I have found neither, but her memory gives me hope that one day, I will.
Peace and Love,