Alison, I'm sorry...

Today is January 30, 2017, exactly 18 years since she left this earth. Nearly twenty years have gone by and yet this day still paralyzes me. I was so stupid and reckless back then. I would do anything to be able to go back and do things differently. But I can't.

Her name was Alison and we were like fire and ice. In looking back on things I really believe that she was also bipolar yet untreated. Can you imagine that? Two crazy, untreated, undiagnosed bipolar people in one relationship. I think that's why we understood each other so much. We were so insanely in love at one time. How different my life might have turned out if I had never left Detroit. I know everything happens for a reason, but here I sit 18 years later and I still can't figure out why she had to die.

It all started shortly after I moved to Detroit. I ran into a group of guys, literally, with my car. I reached down to get something off of the passenger seat of my car and hadn't realized that the car in front of me had stopped and before I knew it, BAM, I ran right smack into the back of their 1982 Chrysler. Luckily there was no real damage to be seen and for whatever reason I started up a conversation with these three - Chris, Russell, and Chad. We hit it off right from the get go. They told me about their band and I told them how much I had always wanted to learn to play the guitar and just like that Russell pulled a guitar out of the trunk of his 82 Chrysler and gave it to me (no shit). They actually wound up teaching me how to play so I could be in their band and once the lead singer, Chris, found out that I wrote poetry he elected me to help him write some original songs for the band. It was AWESOME. Before I knew it every free moment that I had was spent playing gigs in every dive bar around town. Most of the stuff that we played were covers but we managed to mix it up with some of our original songs and we even got a small time record deal and cut a CD of all of our original stuff. It was just a small time band but nonetheless I felt like a rock star!

Anyway, our little band even managed to acquire a small handful of Groupies who followed us all around. That's how I met Alison. She was just a college freshman back then, going to Wayne State University and studying Psychology (ironic ain't it). Her and her roommate Amy were there at every one of our gigs so it was just a matter of time before we were introduced. It was MAD love! I fell for her FAST and she fell for me just as fast. It didn't take long for us to be a "thing", even moving in together after only knowing each other barely a month. It was teenage love, but DAMN was it intense. Don't get me wrong, we had our ups and downs - it seemed like we were constantly fighting, but those fights always ended up with some of the most intense sex of my life. Wow, I still get fluttery thinking about those times. As intense as our good times were, our bad times were just as intense. We truly were like FIRE and ICE....either BLAZING hot or ARTIC cold.

We continued this hot/cold relationship for nearly 5 years until it became second nature for the both of us. Then my world fell apart. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting at work one morning around 10am unable to focus on anything. The night before the band had played at a "battle of the bands" tournament and when I finally got home shortly after 2am I walked into a shit storm. Alison apparently had some sort of episode and had run around the house knocking stuff over, breaking shit, and just causing all kinds of havoc. Her paranoia had gotten the better part of her and she was convinced that I had been over at another girl's house screwing her brains out, which was the furthest thing from the truth. I tried to reason with her, get her to calm down but that did nothing but erupt into a back and forth screaming match until I finally threw in the towel and left. I ended up crashing on Russell's couch for a couple of hours before I had to be at work (you know - my real job, the one where I actually make money). So here I was sitting at my desk at work, blood shot eyes and reeking of booze and cigarette smoke from the night before. I couldn't concentrate on anything so I finally gave up and told my boss that I was sick and needed to go home.

I walk through the front door, surprised to see that Alison was still at home, when I knew that she should be in class. I kick off my shoes and drop my coat on the floor knowing that I just needed some sleep - I honestly couldn't tell you when I had even slept last. It had been a few days. So I walk into our bedroom and there in bed I find Alison and my best friend, our lead singer, Chris, screwing each other's brains out. I snapped, like literally something inside of me broke. I turn and walk out of the room slamming the door behind me. Before I could even make it back to the living room Chris and Alison are both behind me pleading me to stop and talk to them, trying to tell me how this was all a mistake - meanwhile all I could think about was how both my girlfriend and my best friend had betrayed me at the same time. I stopped cold in my tracks turned around and just started wailing on Chris. I punched him with every ounce of energy that I had left - clocking him in the face, and on his side and chest. I learned later that I had actually given him two black eyes, a couple broken ribs, and a bruised abdomen.

I never went back home after I left that day, nor did I ever speak to Alison or Chris again. I called up my brother, Russell, Chad, and a couple guys from work and they packed up all of my stuff for me. Then once they had the UHaul truck loaded up I left Detroit forever and moved to Winston Salem, NC.

I had only been officially moved into my new apartment for about a week when I received a telephone call from Alison's old college room mate, Amy. Somehow she had managed to track me down. She told me that Alison had suffered a deep depression after I left until she couldn't take it any longer and she put a bullet through her head with the pistol that her Daddy had given her for protection.

I was numb. I couldn't move or even speak. I hung up the telephone and cried like never before.

I was never the same after that. I'd like to say that I learned from that experience, but the truth is that you never really get over something like that, and even today - 18 years later - it still paralyzes me. I spent nearly the entire day in bed thinking about the what ifs. It still hurts. I was so distraught over Alison's death that I couldn't even go to the funeral. In fact it was close to 10 years before I could even muster up the courage to go visit her grave site.

So every year on this day I lose a little more of myself and today was no different. All I can say is I'm sorry Alison. I know now why you slept with Chris. I know that it wasn't really you at all. I'm just sorry that I couldn't see it back then. Maybe if I had then you would still be alive today....

Here's a poem that I wrote for her:

"I'm Sorry"

I'm sorry that I wasn't there, standing by your side.

To tell you everything would be OK, the moments before you died.

I'm sorry that I wasn't there, that sad and painful day.

I still don't understand why things turned out this way.

I'm sorry that I wasn't there, when your friends all reminisced.

I'm sorry the celebration of your life, is something that I missed.

I'm sorry that I wasn't there, when they placed you in the ground.

It hurt too bad to face the pain, so I didn't make a sound.

I'm sorry that you felt the time had come for you to leave this place.

I pray that God has forgiven and comforted you with his embrace.

I'm sorry that it took so long, for me to face you now.

I sit here at your stone and cry, and finally get it out.

I'm sorry I spoke in Anger, when your name was ever mentioned.

I tried so hard to forget you, believing it'd rid the pain and tension.

I'm sorry I tried to forget our past, pretending that it never was.

Yes it's true it ended badly, but there were times it felt like Oz.

I'm sorry that I didn't hear, your muffled cries for help.

I never really understood, how you defined yourself.

I'm sorry that I never forgave, the betrayal with my friend.

Now I'm here to ask your forgiveness, it was my reaction that began your end.

I'm sorry that it took so long for me to finally say.

I forgive you Alli, and am glad we met that day.

I'm not going to say I'm sorry, for all of our times together.

Those memories are a part of me, and will be with me forever.