By LaShaniece Winfrey
I saw him and I froze. It was just a picture, but my heart broke and tears swelled in my eyes. It’s been three years and I thought I’d forgiven him, but I guess time doesn’t heal all wounds. I realize now that I was never mad at him. I was mad at myself for loving him. I still am. I was mad at myself because I allowed him to hurt me and then blamed everything on him when he wasn’t even the one to blame. I knew exactly what he was doing when he did it. I knew I’d be hurt, yet I stayed. I stayed because it for him and it was for me. And I miss it. I miss it all.
It was the summer before our Senior year when everything took a turn for the worst. We had been together for two years and were planning our lives after high school. We were going to get an apartment, I was going to college, and he was going to pursue his dream of music. It was perfect and we were in love. Not the teenage puppy love you see all the time, but actually in love.
We were supposed to take a trip to Lake Mount on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, hoping the cool brisk water would cool us off if even for a moment.. But he fell sick the night prior. When I went to visit him, his random outbursts of coughs would be accompanied by blood. All I can recall saying is, “Jake, you really need to go to the doctor's.” His mother had agreed with me and we rushed him to the hospital.
“Mrs. Jones?” the doctor in his pristine white coat questioned, his eyes grazing the crowd. Jake’s mother rose and asked if I would join her. I followed them both to a small office. He told us it was stage four lung cancer. Cancer had creeped into Jake’s body and tried to rob him of his youth and adulthood.
I watched Jake wither away over the course of two months, until the only pieces of him left were the memories. I was mad at him for leaving and breaking me but it was inevitability of death that actually broke me. Time couldn’t heal me.