Yesterday I was doing well, spending time with my fiance and aside from the rather insidious heat that left me sweating and exhausted by the time we got home, it was a nice afternoon. We got a pizza and watched a movie on YouTube, and everything was fine.
At least, it was fine until our roommate came in limping and bandaged. He’d been hit by a car on his bike and although he’d avoided the worst injuries, this isn’t the first time it’s happened and every time, his injuries get worse. You hear all the time about how bicycle-friendly the Portland area is, but the truth is there are still a lot of really arrogant and plainly stupid drivers on the roads who make life difficult and dangerous for cyclists by running lights and not looking where they’re going.
Seeing him in that condition alarmed me, but when I told him that we need to pull together some money for a car, he insisted that I didn’t expend myself that way because he didn’t want to be a burden.
That was what triggered me. I broke down crying. He reminded me so much of those boys at the front who would come back, not banged up enough to be sent home but badly enough that they were barely able to fight; they would put on the same attitude, a little too much stiff upper lip for their own good. Only this time, I felt like I could do something, at least in theory (after all, even a crap car is expensive).
You have to understand, I really like this guy. We’ve known each other for years, got into trouble together, survived the same tornado together, shared the odd smoke, and we’ve helped each other out in tight spots. There’s a camaraderie there, born out of adversity and he even knows about my past lives (he’s ex-army himself). And although I don’t remember the names or faces of the men I might have served with in John’s life, he’s probably the closest thing I’ve got relationship-wise to what I felt for them and I often wonder if we didn’t know each other in a previous life. The thought of losing him if I could have done something, even in theory, doesn’t sit well with me at all.
I try to avoid these feelings, but they just keep finding me. There’s always something beating down my door to remind me of the horrendous sense of loss I feel, both for the death of John Harris and for all the good men he saw die before he joined them.