I've been delaying this post a lot, and for that, I apologize. I wish I could say I had some reason-trouble finding a hot spot or having to hide the laptop. There's a million reasons that could explain away my absence, but they would all be lies, and the one thing I never want to do on this blog is lie. This blog is in his memory, and I don't want to dishonor it with lies or excuses.
The truth is, this blog is all I have left of Sam. Each story shares him with all of you, but also makes the loss more final. I know he's gone. I was the one who found his body, though that's a story for another post. I know that he is dead, and he's never coming back. These stories are all I have, and as much as I want to share them, a part of me wants so badly to hold tight to them and to his memory and never speak of it again, to cling tight to all that is left of the man I loved so much.
I can't do that, it won't change anything, only ensure that the only one who remembers him is a bum on the street corner. He always did deserve so much better.
So today you get the story of his last night on earth. I think he knew, too. Though he wouldn't tell me that, didn't want to worry me. But he was quiet and scared and a lot huggier than usual, as we sat that night on the fire escape in the cold, sharing the warmth of the blanket we'd managed to get. Doing so wasn't exactly unusual-considering the lack of properly warm places we could go, oftentimes we would spend the entire night asleep together under a pile of blanket and newspapers and whatever else we could get to help. Last winter was mild, yes, but still potentially dangerous to a man alone outside all night.
The two of us had been talking for hours, about anything and everything, the kind of easy conversation that you only get with someone you've really connected with. And considering we'd both been alone so long, that alone was worth reveling in.
But he was fidgety and nervous, and eventually he turned to me, and because of how close we were huddled together our faces were inches apart, and he blushed and I swallowed hard and tried not to think too hard about it. "Lils, I've been thinking a lot, lately. About... stuff." He cleared his throat, then continued. "About what I'd regret most, if they caught up to me right now."
I shook my head fiercely. "They won't, they won't, you're safe, I won't let them hurt you!" If only...
"Maybe." He replied patiently, though it was obvious as always that he didn't think I could help. "But that's not the point. The point is, I've been thinking, and if I were to die tonight, I know exactly what I'd regret, and I want to fix it." A faint smile lit up his face.
"What's that?" I replied quietly.
He paused, took a deep breath like he was psyching himself up to say something. "Lils, I love you."
I gaped at him. "What? But you're gay!"
Sam shook his head. "I am. But I'm in love with you anyway. I don't care what you are, I'm completely in love with you and I have been for a while."
"Do. Do you really mean that? You really love me both ways?" I think I teared up a little from the impossibility of it all.
He wiped a tear off my cheek, beaming at me. "I do. I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner."
I leaned in to kiss him then, overwhelmed by all those feelings I'd been suppressing. "I love you too"
When we pulled apart, he was crying, so I held him close and kissed his temple, fear quickly overtaking the joy. "What's wrong, Sam? What's going on?"
"It doesn't matter. Not important. Just. Lys, you're the best person I've ever met, and I want you to promise me something."
"No matter what happens to me, stay good."
He shifted to look me in the eye, his expression deadly serious. "After everything you've been through, you're still so good and kind and noble, and I'm scared that if something were to happen that'd change. So, promise me you'll stay good."
"What could happen? We're together and safe." It was denial, of course, but I'd just gotten here and I didn't want to entertain ever losing him.
"Promise me." He insisted
I swallowed hard and nodded "Alright. I promise. For you and Dad both."
Sam relaxed and kissed me again. "Thank you."
I attempted to find out what this was all about, but he wouldn't say. We held each other for a while longer that night before Sam announced that he needed to do something and I couldn't come with him. He told me to meet him in one of his usual sleeping spots, the next morning. He promised me that he'd be there, safe and sound, and so I let him go. I refused to entertain the thought that I might not find him alive and whole, and so I let him go.
That was the last time I ever saw him.