I preface this post by saying some of the details of what ocurred in my life during this time are hard to remember, some of them may not be exact, but are close enough for the sake of my entry.
This will be a hard post to write. I don't think I will ever let this go because it is a very big piece of me and I haven't told anyone some of these feelings. This will be my post devoted to Robbie.
When my mother was first divorced she worked at a fabric store called Value Land. My mom can sew the shit out of some clothes. But anyway, she met Sandra. Sandra is about the same age as my mom, married, had three children. For those of you who read often may recall me mentioning my best pal April. Sandra is her mom. She also has two brothers, Timmy and Robbie. April is my age, Robbie was a year younger, and Timmy is my sister's age.
I think I was six when my mom and Sandra started hanging out. Thus started my 20 plus year friendship with their family. We would do beach trips, slumber parties, I spent a lot of time with April, Robbie, and Timmy. A large part of my life was spent on Chambers street.
One of my favorite memories of my time at the Chambers St. home was when April and I were 9 maybe 10, we decided we were going to run away. We were not unhappy kids, we just wanted to live in the clover patch. The clover patch was a small green area about two blocks away from Chambers St. and we would take the dogs there all the time. So we packed up our clothes and some oyster crackers and went outside to get on the bikes and go. We had left a note on April's door letting everyone know we were running away, but we would be back. April's dad came home from work and told us we forgot to say goodbye to everyone. April's mom flipped! She told us to sit on the couch and watch the Mickey Mouse club and "enough of this running away shit!" We fell asleep on the couch bed and never did make it to the clover patch. There is an Albertson's Grocery there now.
So April went to college up north. Although we are about the same age, she was a grade ahead of me. So, I would still go over to Chamber's street and spend time with Robbie. When I would get bored I would call Robbie and we would talk about random junk. I think I talked to Robbie more than I talked to April those two years she was away at school. Then it happened. I started to go you know, I really really dig Robbie. I didn't dream of ever saying anything to him or anyone about it because I was a shy little flower then. So I kept those feelings to myself.
On Robbie's 17th birthday, He and his dad came into the burger king I worked at. He said today's my birthday and I said awesome and told him I would hook him up. I made him a double bacon cheeseburger with a heart attack amount of bacon. He told me that April had sent me something and it was at the house. I went by after work to pick it up and spent a little time talking to Robbie about Halloween that had just passed. He asked if I had a picture of him and I said no I didn't. He said don't move and went into his room and gave me a picture of him dressed like a cap on Halloween. Robbie even drove an old old cop car. He was weird hahah! I took the picture and the stuff from April and went home. This was the last time I saw Robbie alive. Even now, it breaks my heart to say that.
In January, April was down from school and came into the burger kings and said she was picking up some food for Robbie. She said he had some weird cough and couldn't shake it so she wanted to cheer him up. I told her to tell him I said hey and I hooked him up with the bacon. Didn't think anything of it.
The rest of January is a blur to me. When Robbie didn't get better, his dad took him to the hospital and he was diagnosed with leukemia/lymphoma. And it had spread through his body so fast that they could have come in a week earlier, they wouldn't have caught it. I am not sure of the details because I didn't and don't want to know. What is in my head is they placed him in a drug induced coma to put him through crazy chemotherapy. When it was time for Robbie to come out of the coma, he didn't. He was being kept alive by the machines. I had gone in on January 31st and said hello to everyone. I couldn't go in and see Robbie because they were changing tubes or something. I became so uncomfortable, I left and said I would come back tomorrow and see him. Shorty after midnight, His parents has decided that it was time and let him go. My mom had let me sleep because I had to be at work at 4am.
That night I had a dream that Robbie and I had got married and he was happy and healthy and when I woke up on February 1st, I felt in my heart that I needed to tell him how much I really cared for him. I went to work and called home at about 8am and asked how Robbie was doing. My mom said after midnight Vanessa, they let him go. I hung up, walked into the storage room and fell to the ground. I couldn't cry. I was just numb and couldn't get my brain straight. I needed to go home and of course everyone called in sick and I ended up being at work for almost 15 hours. i still don't know how I functioned and kept the store running.
I was a rotten friend to April during this time. The way I grieve, I become very introverted. I need a lot of alone time. I couldn't be a shoulder for her and I have expressed to her that I can never forgive myself for failing her as a friend. Shortly after her and I had that talk and a good cry, my mom took our picture and this puffy eyed, red faced picture is the favorite of us. this may sound weird, but I felt that it was one moment that April and I came back together and we're real friends.
Robbie's school was kind enough to award his diploma and his aunt accepted it on his behalf. His school also held his memorial service in the theater. My mom says it was so amazing that so many people came together for him because he was a tough kid.
So today would have been Robbie's 29th birthday. And usually, I have a little cry and remember him and I waltzing at Nights at Vienna (a Costume Ball), Going to his first violin recital when we were 12 and 13. Going to his first play when we were in high school and him coming to mine. Him telling me what a douche my boyfriend was and how much better I could do and deserved. Sitting in the tool shed and watching McGyver on a portable TV since his mom wouldn't let him watch it in the house. His laugh. I miss his laugh and I hear it when Timmy laughs.
This year was a little harder. When I was in Idaho, Robbie's mom asked me if I had anything of Robbie's. I couldn't participate in the ransacking of his stuff, I knew he would hate that people were going through his things. I told her no and she said she had found something that she felt was appropriate. It was the name tag from his job. A job I had encouraged him to get. I have been thinking a lot about what kind of man would he have been. What would he have done if he had more time. A piece of my heart will always belong to Robbie and I miss him terribly.