I'm going to turning twenty-five in two months. It's kind of strange to be approaching my mid-twenties when I often feel like a teenager still.
When I turned 20, it was a horribly emotional event. It was our first birthday without you - without a shared party, without a ridiculous number of happy birthday cards to each other. It was a bitter realization that we would never be in our twenties together and I felt horribly alone.
21 didn't mean anything. I didn't do anything. I didn't feel anything. I hadn't come back to life yet, and I was largely in denial that I had survived another year without you.
Turning twenty-two was terrifying. I couldn't possibly be your age. Had I really caught up to you? I'd spent my entire life wanting to be where you were...grown up, sophisticated, wise, beautiful. And here I was, standing on what felt like a steep, deadly precipice, about to fall into a world beyond you. You must have been laughing a little, because deep down I wondered if maybe we were cursed and all sentenced to die at 22. I held my breath all year, expecting the next car to slam into me and send me flying to meet you.
And then I made it to twenty-three. A vast black space where you'd never been. Until now I could still pretend to follow you. I grew up like you did, met a boy like you did, fell madly in love like you did. But from here on out I would be the ground breaker. It brought on a whole new world of grief because I felt like you'd truly gone. It was just me with no one to follow.
I feel cheated because I don't know what our relationship would be like now. People tell me to be thankful that we had time together - of course I am; that goes without saying. But losing something so incredible just makes you long for it even more. I know that I wouldn't be the woman I am now if you'd stayed, but sometimes I think that the price of finding myself was far too great.