I am 29 and home recovering from a minor surgery, in a pink t-shirt and jeans, idly logging on to Facebook to see what’s going on in the world.
I am 29 and frantically logging onto a comic fandom message board to try to make sense of something terrible I’ve just seen referenced on Facebook.
I am 29 and calling his house over and over again, 10 – 20 – maybe 50 times before gradually realizing he is not there, but there might be other people there I’m annoying. I call a few more times anyway in case one of them might pick up the phone and let me know this isn’t true, this isn’t happening, he’s fine or in the hospital or anything, literally anything, but dead.
I am 29 and listening to his voice mail greeting for what I will later realize was the last time.
I am 29 and frantically calling my parents, who are in town for the day at a program over on campus. I am 29 and humiliated that I am crying so hard they get frustrated because they can’t understand me.
I am 29 and trying to explain to my boyfriend of three months, over instant messages, that I need him to leave work because someone died, someone so desperately precious to me that I have guarded him like a secret, whose existence my boyfriend was not at all aware of until he was gone forever and definitely not a threat anymore.
I am 29 and lying curled like a question mark on my living room floor, crying uncontrollably and remembering a time when we had a phone call where we both cried like this because we could not find a way to bridge the distance between us.
I am 29 and I am embarrassed all the time because I am a raw open bleeding wound but the people who see me grieving never even knew the guy, might have heard his name once or twice, and certainly had no idea what he meant to me.
I am 29 and I don’t sleep for days.
I am 39 now and I have had more time than Frank was given.
I am 39 and he’s been gone almost as long as I knew him.
I am 39 and at some point in the past ten years I was finally able to stop wondering what might have been.
I am 39 and I still think about him most days.
I am 39 and after so long, his memory does bring me strength, joy, inspiration, and happiness — just like Mike Nebeker promised.