Five Fifteen

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“How are you holding up?” he asked with concern in his voice, as if he knows me so well.

“Not very well, thanks for asking, but who might you be?”

“Michael, a close friend of Tyler. Seems like he hasn’t introduced me to you. I have to tell you a lot of things but I only need a little of your time, I’ll do most of the talking and you’ll just listen, sounds okay?”

“Yeah. I’m all ears. Please, come in.” but he refused my offer so we sat down on the three-steps stair on our porch, right where we saw him waiting.

He cleared his throat then he started speaking. “Tyler is so in love with you. He’ll always choose you in a heartbeat. Not a day would pass by without him mentioning your name, it was mildly irritating you know?” then he looked at me with a smile full of love, but not for me, his eyes were suffering and his lips were trembling, “I was captivated by his eyes, I love him more than he’ll ever know,” there’s a crack in his voice and it started quavering. “and there was a time that I thought he felt the same, that he loved me too, that I somehow stole his heart away from you, but I didn’t, I couldn’t. He’s really nuts for you, you know?” we both laughed as tears started to fill both of our eyes.

“You’re right. He was nuts for me, but not anymore. He loves someone else now and perhaps it’s you who he was talking about.”

“Because I love Tyler, I understand him somehow, I know I do.” Then there was a vague pause, it’s like he’s about to utter words that’ll kill his heart yet he was still ready to say it, “I also happen to know that you’re the only one who he will ever love until he breathe his last breath and I think that you’re going to be such a fool to let go and throw away a love like his. Sometimes what we need and what we want are two different people, but Tyler, he only needed you, Jack. He planned everything and he somehow managed to persuade me to be his accomplice.”

I was confused about what he was talking about. “What do you mean?”

“You know that Tyler begged his parents not to tell you about his situation, right?”

“Yeah. I know about that.”

“When he knew that you’re going back here in Ontario, he asked me to play a part on his little stratagem that’ll hurt you on purpose, but I ditched him the day he’s supposed to instigate my being to you. He acted like he didn’t love you anymore because he couldn’t bear to see you suffering because of him, he wanted to leave knowing that your mind will never follow him even in the afterlife. He wanted you to forget and heal as soon as you can. I don’t know a lot about Tyler, the way you do, but he never asked god to heal him, he never asked for anything that’s for him alone, but I swear to you, I saw him, he asked one thing from god, to give you happiness and let you live the life that you always deserve living, that’s how much he loves you, Jack.”

“I have a question for you, Michael. Since you’re the only friend he ever had aside from me, I, Jack St. George, want to marry him and will you give me your approval to do so?”

“Without a doubt, I will. I’ll be there and I’d like to be his best man. Enjoy your turn to love him, maybe in a different place and time, perhaps in another life, we could be together. He would’ve loved me if he met me first but that’s not the case and that’s why I’m choosing to let go of him, to hand him to you because I know that’s his happiness, it’s always been you.”

I stopped visiting Tyler for a few days, I wanted to buy him a ring then I’ll propose to him when I already got it. I also needed some time to gather all the courage in me to do something that I’ve never done before, something that’ll change my life completely. I headed to the plaza to buy an ideal ring that I want to give to Tyler. When I arrived I instantly headed to different stores but I couldn’t find something that will suit him very well and also affordable. I’m not rich like other people so I have a certain budget for the engagement ring that I’m going to buy. I spent hours roaming around but I couldn’t find anything. There are a lot of rings that are inexpensive but I couldn’t find the right one. I headed home then my dad asked me how it went and I told him, “Not too well. Didn’t find anything.”

“I actually wanted to give you something a while ago but you took off without telling me so I didn’t have the chance to give it to you.”

“I’m sorry dad. I was just too excited that I forgot to let you know that I was going out, but it was all for nothing. What is it?”

He grabbed something from his pocket then right after he pulled it out he said, “My father once wanted to remarry a woman named Evelyn. He loved her more than I saw him love my mom. He fell so hard for her, you know? He bought an engagement ring for her but when he proposed, she said no but he somehow perceived that something like that would happen. He got over it and then he decided to give me the rings. Dad was the type of person that loves buying things that are androgynous. I know, at my age, I’m certain that I’ll never marry someone so I want to give you these, maybe you can use it appropriately.”—then he handed me a pair of rings with an exquisite silver diamond and a sterling knot that perfectly represent a timeless bond of love and affection. As soon as it laid down my hand I could feel the everlasting love that I’m going to receive from Tyler once he said yes to my proposal, it was truly the ring that I’ve been looking for. I thanked him sincerely and gave him a hug then after that I drove towards the hospital, to see him again, to finally ask him about something I’ve been meaning to ask since I came back.

As I walked in the hospital’s hallway, making my way to Tyler’s room number, my blood woke up my mind and kept my heart pumping faster than it usually does. My smile grows at its own accord as my love for him grows bigger as I take a step closer towards where he is. When I entered the room, the smile from my face vanished in an instant. I could barely recognize him. He looked weaker and much thinner than the last time I saw him. I sat beside him then he whispered, “I promised you, Jack. That no matter how hard and painful it gets, I’ll never stop fighting.” He’s suffering so much and I couldn’t bear to see him like this. As he speaks I could hear in every word that he uttered the sorrow in his voice. “I’m trying my best but my body is so frail and it couldn’t put up a fight anymore.”

Crying as I hold his hands, I said to him, “I lost a lot of people in my life Tyler, but I always had you. You put me back together, every puzzle piece of my being, you brought them back to their very own place, you fixed me. I’m not ready to lose you too, I’ll never be ready for that.”

“I’m sorry for leaving you too soon.”

I don’t know how to respond to what he said so I drastically swerved the topic to another. “I met Michael. He seemed like a good guy. He told me everything, about the lies you have said to me.” I had a glimpse of his smile then I continued, “But don’t worry, I’m not mad. He said that you had your reasons for doing everything that you did. But things have changed now, Ty.” I held him tighter then I took out the ring—“I told you before that you’re everything that matters now, you don’t have to worry about me. Hold me and I promise you, you won’t ever be alone, we don’t have forever now but with the little time we both have left, will you, Tyler Cohen, be my loving husband from this day forwards, for better, for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, and nothing could do us part.” I could see how his face glowed, how happy he was when I recited the marriage vow. It felt like we were the only people inside the room, that everyone else disappeared and I loved it.

“That’s not the original ordinance, Jack.” then he chuckled softly

“A little alteration won’t hurt, right? Even though I’m not following god’s ordinance; I pledge thee my troth. So... is it a yes or no?”

He did his best to show me once again his brightest smile then he replied, “I do.” Then it was his turn to ask me and recite our own vow to each other. As I look at him I can see how excruciating every breath he takes and it made it hard for me to listen to his voice because I could feel in my chest the torment he’s going through.

“I have never wanted anything more than to be your loving husband, Tyler. I do.”

Even though it didn't last long, our story will always be embedded in my heart. He will always be a part of me. In life, all of us will meet some people who will just pass us by, some will stay, but Tyler, he passed me by and stayed for a while but I know he changed me forever. He's not here anymore but it doesn't feel like it. I could still feel his love surrounding me, giving me strength. Thinking about him will never bring me anything aside from comfort and peace. I will never forget the warmth his hands gave me, the solace when he kisses me and most of all, the care he provided me. Saying goodbye to him was the toughest thing I had ever done in my entire life but it somehow released me from something that made my heart so dark. All of you witnessed how great my love for him is, and how he's love for me was immeasurable, everything was perfect, I couldn't ask for more, honestly. I cherish his smile, his gaze and the way he caresses my skin. I cherish him more than anything, and I'm pleased to say that my heart belongs to him, and him alone, it beats for him. Nothing is more painful in this world than losing someone you love. No words will ever describe how you're feeling and no words could also give you comfort. A tragedy such death will leave a deep wound inside your heart and you will feel like it'll never heal, that it only gets worse, but trust the process, it'll eventually heal, no matter the costs. Life is so illogical, isn't it? But that's the fun part in living, you'll never know what will happen next or if there's still one. In my case, I still don't know how life really works for each of us in this unsure world, but I do know two things; it's an honor to be his husband until his last moment and that in every lifetime I had, have and will have, he'll always be the only person who I will ever love. Until we meet again on the other side or in another life, Tyler St. George.
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