I saw sadness and loneliness in your eyes, the first time I looked at your face.
I saw pain and desertion hiding behind your smile.
I didn’t know what it was that haunted you.
It caught me.
Like I knew somehow you were suffering
and there seemed to be no way out.
Like I knew.
Your charming presence,
funny little stories and late phone calls,
the music you played on your guitar.
You got my attention.
You made me laugh, but there was a certain heaviness about you as well.
Something that pulled at you, weighed you down.
Something I couldn’t explain.
You were running.
You were different than the others.
A rebel kind of guy who didn’t care what others think.
You believed people take themselves so seriously.
Something I could easily agree with.
You did things your own way.
Reality was too harsh to face, so you numbed yourself.
You were honest about your struggle.
It didn’t master you anymore like it used to and I believed you.
Before I knew it, I would already love you
Love your dark eyes
Your singing voice
Your sleeping dog in my bed
Yes, even your sadness
You were running.
Before I knew it, we spent more time together.
We went on a sailing trip in September.
The first signs of autumn painted the air,
the falling leaves,
the pink shades in the evening sky.
You were laughing at me when I was grumpy in the morning
as we didn’t have any coffee on board,
how happy I was when we finally found a little café along the riverside,
how I immediately cheered up when I had my first cup,
how I smiled at you and said coffee was my only addiction.
Sometimes your body felt cold next to me
or you were sweating heavily while it wasn’t warm.
You were shivering.
Sometimes you’d rather lie alone in bed.
In silence I cried myself to sleep.
When we sailed lakes and rivers
and the week was over,
you said you had to go home.
There were things to do.
There was no time left.
It couldn’t wait.
You were running. Again.
At the train station we kissed goodbye.
I watched you in your old, rusty car.
You were gone before I knew it.
For days in a row I couldn’t reach you.
No sweet words coming from you on the screen of my phone.
You were running.
Until you came back
Back from what?
We watched movies
We walked with Zola, your dog
Dogs don’t judge
You cooked spaghetti
I loved you
You were running
There was no future
Sometimes a part of you was absent while you were with me.
Our days together were followed by days when you were still running.
You said you loved me, but you didn’t want me to sink with you
The sinking ship you felt you were
I am sinking, you said.
The day arrived
I would receive your last text message
Your last phone call
We had our last dinner together
At the time I didn’t know it was the last I would see of you
You didn’t want to be reached.
Days became weeks and weeks became months.
There were times when I picked up the phone
nobody answered, but I knew it was you.
We listened to each other’s silence and months became years.
Since I had met you I feared I would lose you.
I imagined I would find a letter in my letterbox one day.
A letter that said you were gone.
Two years later, that day in July
when I came home from work and opened my letterbox
I found the letter.
It had pictures of you, pictures of your mum, your brother, Zola the dog.
Pictures of you with another girl.
Yes, you were gone now. Forever gone.
Your struggle was too much for you. You lost the fight.
They found you on your sailing boat that summer day.
Escaped from life.
I was numbed when my hands held the last of you I always feared.
One night I asked you to send me an angel.
And you got me the sweetest and the best one.
May your restless soul have found peace. My first love.