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  • Alexis Kemp

An Unexpected Chapter


Valentines Day was somewhat bittersweet. It’s impossible not to think about the 16 Valentines I had with Seth. It’s also impossible not to think about our last one, since he was diagnosed right after it, or the one after Seth passed away, when I was alone for the first time in memory. But this Valentines was overall quite nice.

I woke up that morning with tackle snogs from my new beau and it was delightful. A few months ago I imagined myself alone for a very long time, if not forever. That mindset started to change early December when one of my best and oldest friends came back from Germany and we spent an unseasonably warm winter day at the beach. After that day, we began seeing a lot more of each other and things somewhat quickly, yet organically took a romantic turn. We’ve known each other since we were 15 and we always kept in touch electronically and by mail when he was travelling and in person every moment he wasn’t. He sought my approval on the girls that he dated and he was at my wedding to Seth celebrating alongside of us. Seth loved him too and we both enjoyed hearing about his various adventures when he’d pop back into town for a few weeks or a few months at a time.

Even though it’s only been a couple of months, I’ve grown warm and happy again being in his company and holding a place in his heart.

There isn’t a dating scenario in my head that would have worked out, but I know him and he knows me and I don’t need to explain Seth, or my quirks or my taste to him. He understands it all already, which makes it so much easier. He was already a facet in my life, just in a different role. I have always loved him, so making the shift to romantic love came so much easier than I’d ever thought it could.

But I love Seth too. I will always love Seth to a degree that is almost physically painful. And missing him hurts just as deeply now as it did 16 months ago. I’m doing the best I can at pushing aside dark and lonely thoughts and focusing on my new relationship and the sweetness it brings me. I know it’s what Seth would want, but it’s easier said than done sometimes. I feel guilty for giving something that wholly belonged to Seth to someone else, even though I know that’s not logical. There is a small ache – on top of the probably normal early wonderings if a relationship thing will work or not – that tinges so many actions, even if I don’t recognize it until later.

My new guy is staying with me now, with his cinderblock dog and his cutely bad jokes and I can’t think of anything at the moment that needs to be improved upon. We’re working in the garden and he’s making me like the sunshine and we’re doing the couple thing pretty well.

Ultimately life has been easier and happier and infinitely less lonely, which are all good things to have right now, and since I didn’t think I’d feel any of those things fully ever again. It’s nice. And I’m happy. Something I’ve been lying to myself and everyone else about for over a year. I’m not lying anymore.

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