Leave Out all the Rest

"Memory" Oil & pastel
Annemie Odendaal
I was young, he was handsome, we were in love. Life and love seemed just so easy back then. I just started working and he was a lawyer who knocked my feet out from under me. 

We dated for a while, but I was a free spirit, and just didn't want to be caged as yet. We parted friendly, and I started a very promising career in another city. 

A couple of years later I was having drinks one evening after work in a trendy new night club close to my house. It was a long day, and I excused myself to go home early. Then as I walked out of the club, there he was, as handsome as ever. His face lit up when he noticed me as he entered the club. In that moment it felt as if it was yesterday when we last saw each other. My heart started pounding and I felt all those old forgotten emotions come flooding back again. He convinced me to stay for one drink to catch up, and I conceded. The drink obviously turned into an hour or two as we reminisced and caught up with each other's lives.

He asked if he could see me the following night. Unfortunately I already had other plans, so I suggested we could see each other on Saturday maybe. He said that he was a bit tied up on Saturday, but will call me during the week, to make arrangements for the next Saturday. It seemed normal, so I agreed.

He did call the next week, Wednesday. We talked like old friends, and we were both excited and looking forward to seeing each other that weekend. I am not a nosy person, and we were definitely far from dating again, but somehow I asked him what kept him last Saturday from joining me canoeing. I was just making conversation, hearing his voice, no agenda, the usual. But NOTHING could have prepared me for the answer he gave me...

He was busy indeed. Busy getting married! This is just ridiculous on so many levels. I wasn't even angry. I burst out laughing, for lack of any better response, told him to have a good life, and said goodbye. He still had the audacity to ask me if it meant that I wanted to cancel our date this weekend. <speechless>

I happily went my merry way after that. He still kept on calling me now and again for a couple of months, but I never saw him again. I heard he got divorced a few years later, and died shortly after that, apparently shot himself. I still think of him some times and often wonder how somebody so smart, intelligent, funny and attractive, who seemingly had everything, could end up making such a compounded series of bad decisions in his life, that would lead to a tragic end of a young life. 

Was there really no way out for someone so clever and liked by so many? His story is not uncommon, but this one is obviously personal for me, I really liked him. I just hope that somewhere in his life he knew love, happiness and peace, and that the last day of his life didn't overshadow all the good there was for the people he left behind.

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave behind some
Reasons to be missed
Don't resent me
And when you're feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest

- Linkin Park