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Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Pretending People

Today, I feel sad.

I feel sad because I have had to learn the hard way that there are people who pretend. They pretend to be good. They hide their ugly souls under their paper doll clothes, changing their outfits to fit the situation.

I'm sad because there are so many people like this. I grew up believing that people, deep down, are good. They come through. They pull together. They love each other. And they mean it.

I'm not so sure I believe this anymore. My life has witnessed a different side of people over the past few years. I want to believe in good things. I have my days when I do. But yesterday, I did not.

I went to visit my friend Bill's grave site yesterday. He passed away a year and a half ago, tragically. Every day since then, has been different. When someone passes away tragically, you feel like they were stolen from your life. And the thief never gets a sentence. Or is held responsible. It's instant. Your never prepared. You don't understand it. You want to understand. But then you don't because how can you understand something that makes no sense? And then all of a sudden, nothing makes sense.

He was a forty six year old man, with a heart of gold. He shared his egg sandwich when he knew someone was hungry. He never asked how you were, because he knew. So, he would tell a silly story to get your mind of the things you were going through. He would dance. He would jump. He would spin. Because you would laugh. He would ask your opinion, and use it. He was always happy to see you.

He adored his mother. He gave her all he had, physically and mentally. He worried more about her, than he. He bought his sister things. His nephews things. His nieces things. And I'm pretty sure he never got anything back.

He never asked anyone for anything. He gave his heart to the world. But I think, deep down, he was hoping someone would volunteer to give back. But no one ever did.

This man gave up everything for everyone. But yesterday, I thought..but why?

An empty grave site. No head stone, no flowers. The grass has grown in, but it doesn't look like anyone has come to visit. Family is within walking distance. He even paid for his site. A man in his 40's...who supposedly was loved by everyone,,,dies tragically and no one visits. A man that was the life of the party. The laughter when you really needed a laugh. He dies a horrific death and no one comes to visit.

And it kills me. The site of the empty space with a metal tag marking his plot, kills me inside. This could be me one day. What if I have no one to visit me? And what if I felt the same way in life as death? Was he always this lonely? How did I not know? Am I as guilty as those who don't visit the site because I didn't visit enough when he was here on earth?

I swear by the way people acted towards him in life, you would think that there would always be something at that site. He lived in that town. He worked in that town. Everyone knew him. Everyone "loved" him. But yet, no stone?

A family that he did everything for. He worried, he loved, he ran around for everyone. But no stone.

A place he worked at for over 15 years. A place he brought business to, just because he was there. But no stone.

The look of his grave with no stone, to me, has become a representation of his life. He must have felt invisable.

If I had been closer to him, I would ask why there is no stone. If it was for monterary reasons, I find a way to buy one. But, who am I? I was only in his life for a short time. I didn't know the world he lived in, other than what I saw. But, I can tell you this. Everyone deserves rememberance.

And I understand moving on. But I don't understand forgetting.

I think about the moment before the train hit Bill often. I think about that second when he knew and hope he didn't. I think about the silence. The sound. I think about it all. I shutter when I hear the whistle of a train now. He crossed those tracks every day before and after work. What was different that day? Why? How? What happened?

I feel guilt for not being a good enough friend. For maybe not seeing things as they were. For being so consumed with own chaos that maybe I didn't see his. And I wonder if that is why their is no stone. Are people to consumed by daily life? But then I think, but the stone is the only way the world will know him, when all who knew him are gone. Can something like that be overlooked?

I have to say I never pretended. I liked Bill for who he was, what he was and what I saw. The tears I cried weren't tears of pity, they were tears of deep pain. And yesterday, I didn't pretend I missed him as I placed a plant on his grave...I really do. And I remembered that he loved the oregano from his gardeon on his grilled cheese sandwiches during the summer. So I put a little oregano plant there. I hope he knows it's there. Or at least that I remembered that.

I made a promise to myself yesterday. I promised, never to pretend. Pretending is creepy, self-indulgent and evil. If I don't think someones funny, I won't laugh. If something is not hurting, I won't cry. I won't be something I am not. I can't be. I will screw up. I will mistakes. I will say stupid things. And I know I can be selfish. But I will not pretend to be a friend and then walk away when the journey ends.

I won't like myself, if I pretend. I'll never be right with myself. And I won't be right with anyone else.

I promise myself, I will never be one of the pretending people.

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