I met Joshua in a drop in drama class. He was 19. I was 22. There was an instant feeling of recognition. In fact much later, when we would have chance meetings, I always knew they were about to happen.
When I met Joshua, his sister had recently died in an accident. He was devastated. She was the same age as me. My father had died 4 years earlier so that made me the veteran on death. With my battered self-esteem, it was easy for me to put our connection down to a shared acquaintance with grief.
Hindsight can be a beautiful and sometimes torturous thing.
We slept together twice, six months apart. Each time this happened he would open to me and I would push him away. My fear was paralysing! My legacy of loss was a guarded heart. In my mind he couldn’t want a relationship with me. He started seeing someone else. Within six months they were living together.
I moved interstate. I did what I did in those days; I ran away.
I saw Joshua once after I moved. This was before the Internet and mobile phones. Chance meetings were that. Privately I thought about him daily for years.
One day I was having a conversation with a friend from back home. I was 33. She told me how a friend of her brothers had died in an accident, celebrating his 30th birthday. It was Joshua. He had died six months earlier.
Since then, Joshua still pops into my consciousness but now so do his parents. Particularly his mum, especially since becoming a mum. I wonder how does she cope with the grief of losing two of her three children? How cruel and unfair it must seem. How do you find peace with this?
Joshua will always be 19 to me. To many others he will always be 30.
I am 51 now and even this morning I woke thinking of him, wondering at a rewritten past. Perhaps he represents my youthful self and the opportunities of then, and a desire to go back with the knowledge I have now and say yes to it all! Then I remember my two gorgeous babes and I know that they would not be here if anything had been different. I moved here partly because of Joshua. He was a major instigator in my life direction. He is a significant part of my history. I know I am not the only one who carries him in their story.
I hope his mum knows that her son contributed profoundly to many peoples’ lives.

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