Rated: E · Short Story · Biographical · #935592
Can a heart be more broken?
| Like everyone who has ever lived I've had my moments of pain. Sprained ankles and broken digits filled my youth. Later on it was pinched nerves and dislocations as well as the ever memorable kidney stone. I have found, however, that emotional pain is far more damaging. I've dealt with death as three grandparents died during my lifetime. A college friend who suffered from muscular dystrophy also passed on. These incidents all brought pain and none of them matched the pain of a broken heart. I've had more than my share of those but the worst of it was because of Brian.|
I met Brian when I was 21 years old. He trained me to be a waiter at my new job. Within a year we were good friends well on our way to becoming inseparable, best friends. The plethora of stories are too numerable to mention. The heartbreaks he helped me through, the many, many late nights at a bar called "Michael's, drinking and getting high at his father's cabin, the Valentine's Days we celebrated by drinking to The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (the only noteworthy thing we could think of for that day of the year) and the trips we took are an integral part of my memories.
There was this one week when he started changing. He stopped sleeping, drank even more than usual and then, believe it or not started thinking he was god. Being a good psychology major I was sure he had developed a bipolar disorder and against his family's wishes I drove him to the local funny farm where they confirmed I was right and gave him a room for a while. His family decided I was a hero but all I cared about was getting my friend back and eventually I did.
When I enlisted in the Army, at the age of 25, we never lost touch, not even briefly. Every time I made it home to New York he took off from work and we partied as hard as ever, making even more memories. In 1996 I got married. I actually had two awesome friends and the other one, Ed, would have given a far better toast as best man, but he was an usher instead because I knew how much the honor would mean to Brian. A year later my son was born and Brian was his godfather.
Initially as friends, Brian and I saw kindred spirits in each other as two nice guys always destined to finish last. Eventually I would tell people I kept him around so I'd have someone to finish last after me. You see, Brian is the nicest guy who ever lived. Sure, it's easy to say but in this case it's true. Brian was the Sara Lee of friends because "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee." Everyone who met Brian thought he was a great guy and I have never heard an ill word spoken of him. I saw him angry only once and that was when he first saw me with my face bandaged up after I got sucker punched trying to protect a woman in a bar fight. You can see why I can never find a better friend. There is no topping the best.
Our friendship screeched to a halt on November 22, 1999. That is the day my heart was forever broken. I've had relationships end badly and been low enough in my life to even consider throwing it away. In fact, at times like that, it was Brian who would usually make me realize how ridiculous that would be. Anyway, the exact moment of heart break will forever be etched into my memory.
It was 12:44 P.M. and my wife was out shopping with the kids. A repairman was at my house estimating the cost of a new furnace and the phone rang. Glancing at the caller ID I couldn't imagine why Brian was calling me in the middle of the day, but it wasn't Brian and never would be again.
It was Brian's family on the phone. At 7:00 that morning Brian had driven over some black ice and skidded onto the wrong side of the highway where two vehicles going the other way slammed into him. Ironically, it was the father of a mutual friend who pronounced Brian dead at the scene. The repairman was rather surprised to see me hit my knees sobbing and he left fairly quickly.
My wife had no cell phone and I really had no one else to call except my parents. I wound up leaving them a message they couldn't understand through my sobs. I did get a hold of my sister who helped a little bit but not enough. I'm not sure anyone could have. My wife finally came home a couple of hours later and found me crumpled on the floor sobbing. I could barely get the story out.
This is honestly too hard to write much more. Brian's death remains the most painful event of my life. The accident occurred the day before thanksgiving and that holiday hasn't been the same since. I regret my son never got to know his godfather. I treasure every memory Brian and I made together but I miss him even more and love him, still, even more than that. I've yet to stop mourning and wonder if I ever will. Sometimes a broken heart really cannot heal.