There were moments that were incredibly difficult, of course. Like when I was at Michael’s wedding reception. Sitting at the table, listening to the speeches, it was almost as if Ryan was beside me, leaning in to whisper a joke or a secret in my ear.
I could fucking smell him. I could see him in his favourite suit, the brown one, wearing the tie I’d bought him last Christmas. I felt him, for God’s sake, his shoulder pressing against me. I swear I felt his breath on my face.
And then he was gone. As quickly as he’d come. And I was alone, watching Michael and Grant have the wedding that should have been ours. Or at least, that we should have been able to have as well.
When the moment passed, and I remembered that Ryan wasn’t alive – had, in fact, died from pancreatic cancer five months ago – the grief squeezed my chest so hard I had to stand and stagger to the men’s room, where I puked up everything I’d eaten that day.
I stayed in the stall for a long time after, sweating and unstable and crying silently. No-one had missed me because everyone was enjoying the pleasure of seeing two men who loved each other desperately come together in marriage.
But I couldn’t watch it. I couldn’t watch it while I felt Ryan with me when I knew he couldn’t be. That we’d never have what Michael and Grant flaunted so joyously.
It wasn’t there fault. I wished them well and I didn’t hold any resentment.
I only felt like I was going to drown and I was treading water desperately, trying to stay afloat. I had to leave. Because if I saw him again I’d have to go with him.