Back when I was in college, part of my daily routine would almost always result in running to Bill’s house to run an erand of some type. In return, he would share with me his secret stash of M & Ms and let me play with his Nintendo Wii.
When he would be in between his staff members, who often rotated, he would always ask for help on things, and honestly, I didn’t mind. He loved the company and his happiness and hospitality was payment enough.
At a young age as I was, I forgot often that we have quite a gap in age difference, and when you look at the guy, you can’t tell right away his age unless you ask.
Both of us are reaching the milestone birthdays within the next two years, me being 30 and him reaching the half century mark next year. Age is just a number when you love someone, but as that number rises, the worry sets in.
I always promised him I would do my best to help him in any way I could, because he has done the same for me plenty of times, giving me cash once in a great while to pay my phone bill (back when I had the prepaid cards to deal with), helping me quiz for my US government class despite the fact he could barely read past a third grade level (he sure knows his government well) and even giving me his futon to crash on when I had the all mighty Battle Royale with my junior/senior year roomate and had nowhere else to go.
I put up with caring for him because he did his best to care for me.
I learned recently his health has been a little off, more so than usual. Most recent scare is related to Sleep Apnea, and now he needs a breathing machine at night. The thought of that scares me.
I guess I took my youth for granted, and in my fantasy world, Bill is my age. My best friend who has been a big impact on my life, there is such thing as living forever. Or is there?
I remember the thought of him turning 50 scared him even back a few years ago when I met him. “I’m going to heaven when I’m 50.” He told me in a very cheerful way, as if he wants the end to come or expects it like it’s some kind of vacation. He has always been a very optimistic person, but really?
The truth is I might be over thinking this whole age gap thing and him being sicker than the last time I saw him. Yeah, it really is none of my business since now a days, his staff is a better and bigger presence in his life. But in all honestly, the fear of aging scares me, more so for him than me.
I really don’t want to wake up one day and find out he has left this earth, while I’m here thousands of miles away. I have my whole life ahead of me, and in my dreams and in my heart, I want him to be a part of it all. I’m not ready to be in this world without him. Who will I have to talk to me at night, to laugh about stupid things that happened at work, to coach me on my self advocacy and standing up for myself?
I want to remain optimistic that this is just another bump in the road, but it’s kind of hard not to worry. Cerebral Palsy is a bitch and if I could take all that pain and health issues from him, I would. Even if it means taking his place so he could live a happy healthy life.
If only life had a pause or slow motion button so I could freeze time and enjoy him and his company while I still can.
I just want him to be Ok.