Thursday, November 09, 2006


Miguel was a regular customer at the pool hall. He and his friend would come in a few times per week. If there was no table in my section, they would sit in my bar section and wait until an open table came up. Sometimes they would bring women - it was interesting to see the progression of their romantic lives as an outside observer.

I learned that he was a hairstylist, so I started seeing him professionally. I loved the head massages he gave as part of the cut. I'm picky about my hair and he always made it look good, cowlicks and all. Needless to say, his hair was always immaculate. Miguel was gorgeous - great smile, happy eyes, kind face, soft hands. The kind of guy a girl dreams about when she dreams of getting good and lucky.

After a while, he stopped bringing women to the pool hall, and his friend David began bringing the same woman every time. He would stay behind to talk to me after David left. We would flirt in the parking lot, hold hands, blush, sneak the occasional kiss. We acted like 12 year-olds, someone else, not ourselves. When he came to my work, I spent as much time near him as I could.

Almost immediately after I got out of the most recent bad relationship, he asked me out on a real date. Despite my heavy attraction and deepening feelings for him, I was still feeling lost, a little bit bereft, confused. I was getting high more and I was ashamed of that - I didn't want him to know I was using. I turned him down, begging off for some me time to think about my next steps.

He was hurt; I noticed a barely perceptible slump in his shoulders as I answered. He said he understood and said he'd be happy to wait some, to give me some time. I felt relief and gratitude. I knew I'd feel like myself again soon and looked forward to getting closer to him.

A week passed - I was sad to not see him, but I figured he was earnestly trying to give me some space. Then, David came to see me at work, looking so grieved as to be in physical pain. Miguel was dead. There was an accident. He had been drinking more lately. He had died alone on the highway to his home in the middle of nowhere. He was cold when he was found.

My breath was sucked from me then, like I was sucker-punched in the solar plexus. When I think of it now, I still have a hard time breathing and great heavings of grief still well deep within my core. Sometimes I wail, sob, bemoan the unfairness of it. The unfairness that ripped that beautiful life from this world such that his death, alone and cold, in no may mirrored his life - secure in the warmth of the love that surrounded him. Hundreds attended his service.

I mourn the loss of the opportunity I gave up, wonder about how things might have been different, torture myself with the idea that maybe he wouldn't be dead now if I had been there then. I berate myself, kick myself in the ass for a while.

I try not to think about it too much, but every November he comes to me with the crisp smells of fall and fires burning. I can still smell his hair. It is the anniversary of his death. In life, I didn't know enough about us to know if I loved him. In death, and as my time here has passed, I know that I did and still do.

Rest in Peace, dear Miguel - words can't express how much you are missed.


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