A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a girl that I was dating. The writing had been on the wall almost from the beginning that it wasn’t going-nor was it supposed-to work out. Nonetheless, there was still a mutual interest; but a wall up. The unwritten rule was that we weren’t going to get too deep for our own sake. Well, I guess that’s how I saw it.
This conversation began to go south and she concluded that I felt as if this was going to lead to something more. I quickly refuted this assumption and said otherwise. “…But I still like you, so if that’s how I feel in the moment, I go with it.”
What I said was pretty loaded. It wasn’t just a response to this woman, it’s how I live my life. While the circumstances are unfortunate, I am blessed to say that I have learned a valuable lesson that time can only teach most when it is too late. It is much satisfying to give people their roses while they are alive because you really have no idea if tomorrow is in the cards for you.
Four December 8th’s ago I had been living back in New York less than three weeks. Contact between Cydney and her mother was nonexistent because I presume her in-laws had powered her phone off. I couldn’t talk to them on my birthday, wish them a happy Thanksgiving, or even tell my girl happy five year anniversary that day. That night I wrote her a message on Facebook acknowledging what we had deemed to be our day and it would be “until death do us,” not knowing that the next morning would be just that.
While I found out on December 9th in one of the most foul and fucked up ways imaginable, I was at peace. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye; but I had absolutely no regrets. We more than had our share of disagreements, altercations, breakups, trials, tribulations, and any other word one could use to describe adversity. Nonetheless, I know that upon meeting God face-to-face, Timile Brown could ask him many questions and one of them wouldn’t be “How did Chad Milner feel about me?”
Nine years ago, I woke up next to her thinking there would be decades of doing just that. There would be fights and times I wish she wouldn’t be there. There would be Christmas mornings in which our kids would storm in the room elated by what Santa Claus had left them under a tree. Being twenty-one years old, the laws of average said that this would happen. We had time on our side. There would be many tomorrows. Our daughter Cydney has never had a Christmas with two living parents…unless you count 2010 when Timile was pregnant.
Yesterday is nothing more than context. While all of us are affected by events that have happened in our past, they have already occurred. They only remain in the present if we allow them to. I refuse to live my life letting context dictate today or what happens tomorrow…it may not come.