Bed sixteen (10) 

All I remembered was waking up to a sleeping face that had been holding my hair back for the past ten hours. He looked so peaceful despite having to keep up with me all day. I felt such a rush of warmth and sadness.

I remember fragments of the day we met, he was tall and gentle, but his voice was firm. His presence was distant and his eyelashes were long. His long blank stare accidentally drew me into his world that day.

He had no idea the pain that I was going through when our paths crossed that day, but I had no idea about the extent of his pain either.

I used to think of him as a man of few words, but his vast amount of silence was very telling. I remember the day he drove me all around town just so I wouldn’t miss a bus leaving for an event. (I still owe him pancakes for that favor)

I remember when he sat with me in the gymnasium and listened to all my insignificant problems. He wouldn’t let me catch a stray dog I later saw in a parking lot, but he kept cracking jokes to lift my spirits. He was always putting my feelings ahead of his.

Despite the constant changes and disappointments in my life, he was the only constant I was learning not to mind. Not only was this a big deal for me, it was really unheard of. I’m not really one to emote well, especially not those kinds of emotions. I hate those kinds of feelings.

He was always there when I needed him, but he never complained. He always made my happiness a priority. He loved me like an extension of himself. I always felt guilty for not being able to return those feelings with the same intensity.

I got in a car accident the day after Thanksgiving a year ago. When I was taken to the ER they placed me in bed sixteen. I think of the car accident as a moment that was pivotal in our history, a catalyst in the forming of our friendship.

The other night I woke up to the gentle, yet slightly depressed boy who had moved here over a year ago now, and I couldn’t believe how much I loved him.

As I looked around the hospital room that I had sat in a little over a year ago, I glanced up at the large sixteen on the wall, I was slightly shaken. September sixteenth was the last day of my life I had lived without knowing of his existence.

He’s kind, hardworking, selfless, and hands-down the most humble human being I’ve had the pleasure of encountering. I might not always be the best at expressing my emotions, but I’m grateful for his kindness. I’m grateful for the ice cream, the trips to the sea, and every smile he’s ever given me. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I love him.

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