CHANNILLO

Was I dead?
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June, 2002

There was a point in that night where I finally turned and walked away, into the darkness, away from the buildings and the anger. I just kept walking. With each step I went over everything that had gotten me to this emotionally decrepit place in my life and to this decrepit place on the sea, all this angst I had created and all the bad decisions I had made. But as I kept walking, I got sadder, and sadder, thinking about how sweet and simple my time in Miami was less than five years ago, and I asked myself if I did the right thing by leaving. I asked myself that at least twice a week, but told myself that I had to find my own way.

“You didn’t want to be a hockey wife, you graduated from Smith College,” I said out loud. “That means something.”

As I walked the length of the pier that stood above the churning Atlantic Ocean, I took inventory of what I’d lost, things that meant something to me. I’d lost my best friend. I hadn’t talked to my parents in weeks. I never told either of them what had happened in my life, everything that led me to the point to where I was pretty sure I’d screwed up everything and where I’d disappointed everyone else, including myself.

And then I thought of the first person who told me that I was brave, that I was strong, that I was different … things that I needed to hear. I had lost Jamie. I had lost him long before that night in New Jersey.

I’d lost a lot. Did I have much left to lose after all of that? An apartment? A job?

The ocean raged below the pier, and I peeked over the edge at the waves that spun below. Was it warm in the ocean? Would everything stop right away? It was dark. I began to climb the heavy wooden fence, and when I reached the top, when there was nothing left to support me or to hold onto, I took a deep breath and hoped everyone who loved me would come to my funeral. I hoped my parents would find a good photo of me, and that they’d asked for the casket to be closed. Then, I stepped away, into the darkness, and the final thought that went through my head was where my adult life all began.

Next: MIAMI: The day we met

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