I’m really big on the idea of having a bucket list. Having a list of things you want to have done before you die. It’s not like I have a concrete one, but I often ind myself doing something and then thinking: “Wow, to think that I actually got to experience this. To be able to say that I’ve done this.” Some are big and some are small, but all of them are equally important. So I thought that I could have a separate category for it, so I can look back and remember all the things that I never thought that I’d actually get to do, but somehow did. A really nice category, don’t you think?
These past couple of weeks have been fantastic. I’ve had this amazing job, spending some quality time with one of the few non-living things I love – books. I had fun every day, and learned a few things from my supervisor. I saw the last HP film, which was the epitome of bittersweetness. Mostly sweet though. I’ve been to a festival, which was one of the craziest experiences I’ve ever had. It included seeing some awesome bands, crying at a few concerts, dancing with strangers, moshing, and laughing at silly things…like seeing someone you used to consider to be pretty bland fucked up. And I mean really fucked up. Just generally living in the moment. Oh, and what might be the biggest thing – I’m getting a tattoo. Well, I’ll have to wait six months, but it’s happening. Which is bigger than getting a tattoo would normally be. Because I never do these kind of things. Things that aren’t neutral, things that can’t be taken back. I feel like I’m improving. At least I’m trying to. And trying is the first step, right?
But there’s still something missing. There’s a void, and I keep telling myself that I should be focusing on me, and let the other stuff come later, but it’s easier said than done. I thought that the summer would make me forget him. That the infatuation would fade when the “object” was taken away. I think that it had the opposite effect. Which is bad. And good. Or I don’t know. I guess I’ll just have to see when ordinary life kicks in again. Maybe this is a good thing. In any case, I’m going to focus on the here and now, and try to really enjoy my life. Because I know that I’m really lucky to have it.
is it okay if I call you Heath? Or do you prefer mr. Ledger? I guess it doesn’t matter now. It’s all semantics. And I really love your name, I always have. Well, at least ever since I read Wuthering Heights for the first time. So, Heath…this is extremely difficult. And obviously very odd, but for some reason, I felt like I have to do this. I have to write you, a complete stranger that I’ve never even been close to knowing, a stranger that isn’t even in this world anymore, a letter. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve seen all of your movies. I’m not going to act like your performances on the silver screen saved my life. No, it’s not like that. To you, I’m just another insignificant, little human on this planet with billions of people. One tiny human who happens to know who you are. I don’t matter at all, do I? Well, you do. For some reason, you have changed me. And I ask myself, why you? Why not one of the millions of other known people who exist? Granted, the change occurred after your…death. But still. You’re not the first person to die under similar circumstances, so why are you the one that stuck? I don’t know. There’s just something about you, a certain something that can’t be put into words. When you died, everything shifted. No no, don’t fret, this isn’t some lovesick fangirl letter. I’m not stupid enough to think that it all revolves around me. But there was a change in me. In fact, there was a change in everyone. The whole world altered. And now there’s a glitch, things are slightly off. I can feel it in the air. Like something’s missing, you know? The souls of the people who live here on the planet all flow together and form a unity, but when you died, a hole was formed. A Heath-shaped hole that left the unity a little empty, and even though the remaining souls bled out to fill that hole, there is still one soul missing, and the unity is a little less harmonious. Why did you have to go and leave us Heath? Why? I don’t know exactly how or why you died. Or, at least I didn’t. Now, after searching on Wikipedia, I see that you died of an overdose of prescription meds. That it was an accident, caused by your heavy addiction. By the way, it must be strange to still have your whole life written out on one page. Or at least your public life. I guess that your movies aren’t the only thing that helps you live on, huh? Anyways, back to the topic. Your addiction. Why the fuck didn’t you get help? I’m actually a little mad at you right now, Heath. For being so careless. But of course, that anger is mixed with guilt, because I know that addiction causes weakness. And I can’t really go around saying what you should and should not have done, because I really don’t have any idea how it is to be you. How it was to be you. So I’ll just ask why. A question that isn’t directed at you, me, or anyone else in particular. It’s a question I ask the universe. A pathetic whimper to the eerie quiet of the infinite darkness. An echo that is met with complete silence. And I know that it’s useless to ask, that there are times when we all just need to move along. But I’ve never been quite fond of that idea. To move along. I like to linger. To twist and turn the thoughts in my head until there is nothing left but dust. I’m still waiting for that to happen to the thoughts I have about you. Maybe this letter will help. Maybe not. Maybe I don’t want it to help. Maybe you’ll read this. But probably not. You never know though, right? You never know. So exactly why am I writing this? Even though your films will live on forever, you’ve clearly left us. And I can tell. I think about it all the time. I’m writing this so that you know that the planet misses you. I’m writing this to say that nothing will ever be the same without you. Ever. And most of all, I write this to tell you, Heath, named after one of my dearest Byronic heroes, that I truly do hope that you’ve found some peace over there. I write this to say farewell. Farewell, Heath.
Heath Andrew Ledger
★ 4 April 1979 ✝ 22 January 2008
Yesterday, I saw this documentary about the elderly at an old folks home, more specifically, the dementia division at an old folks home. It was pretty devastating. Seeing these men and women be so helpless, and frankly lost, kind of broke my heart. And it made me think. These people have lived almost entire lives. They’ve seen, done, and been through things that I can’t even imagine, and yet, what have they to show for it now? Practically nothing. Every relationship they’ve ever had – gone. Some of these people didn’t even remember their children. Think of all the wisdom they’ve gained over the years, only to have their minds be reduced to a childlike state. We live life, and make mistakes, thinking that it will make us stronger and smarter, but if there’s a chance that it all turns to dust in the end, what’s the point? Who’s to say that I will carry on what I’ve learned today, and all the days I’ve lived before that, tomorrow? To think that everything can disappear is very frightening. But I guess that it’s another thing that proves that you have to live for today. Enjoy the crazy rollercoaster that is life. Take every lesson to heart. Appreciate every moment. Because you, mind or body, might not be here tomorrow.
Disappointment. It stings.
I saw you today, for the first time in over two years. I’d gotten glimpses of you a handful of times, but this was the first time we really met. During these two years, I had done everything that I could to get over you. To forget you. I tried my damnest to convince myself that nothing would happen. That I was too good for you. That there wasn’t anything I could do to change your mind. To change your feelings.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
And I managed pretty well. With time, the memory of you, of our times together, became less vivid. They faded, like most do, and I started to think that it was just a crush. That I was young and naive. That I had matured. Gotten over it. Whatever that means. And then things changed.
I started thinking about you again. Wondered how you were, how life was going, and what you were doing. I found it a little strange that I was suddenly so concerned for your well-being, but wrote it off as just caring about a childhood friend. How stupid I was.
I looked forward to seeing you today. I thought that maybe we could start over as friends. Because you really are a great person, and a wonderful friend to have. I was sure I’d grown enough in the past couple of years to be able to handle it. But then I got there and that familiar feeling came back. That special kind of anticipation that only you could excite.
When you entered that room, every ounce of strength and resolve I’d gathered during those two years crumbled. Your mere presence turned me back into the pathetic mess I once was. When you nonchalantly addressed me, pointing out how long it’s been, the butterflies spread a jolt of electricity through my body. And when you hugged me, I clenched my eyes shut and took a deep breath, savoring the short moment of warmth. Even though you’d changed, your voice now a deep baritone and your stature towering over me, you were exactly the same.
It was all exactly the same.
The night was spent in the utmost disappointing way. Like it’s always been. We played the same cat and mouse game where the winner was whoever cared less. And I felt like a fool, because I was the one pretending while you genuinely didn’t care. I think that’s what hurt the most. The fact that I was such a wreck, and you wasn’t. Like it’s always been. You stayed a couple of hours and snuck out without saying goodbye. Leaving me shocked and shaken. The same old routine.
And what sucks the most is that I’ll do it again the next time we see each other. I’ll be so stupidly happy to see you, disappointed to see you leaving so soon, and hate myself for letting you get to me. Again. You were my first. And I’ll never have another you. So I hope you’re happy with yourself. Because I’ll always be here, whether I want to or not. Waiting.
It all came tumbling down. Everything that I had managed to surpress. Everything that I had finally smashed into that little, dark chamber in the back of my mind. Everything came crashing.
All because of one, stupid thing.
Not the entire world on my shoulders, but one thin, sharp needle pressing down on my heart. A pathetically weak hand that turned the knob and opened the door with hardly any effort at all. And that was it. Everything came flooding back to me and nearly knocked me off my feet. Every ounce of insecurity I’d had came back. The feeling of inadequacy made a bitter homecoming, ten times as strong as it has ever been. And anxiety, my old friend.
Oh, how I haven’t missed you.
I can’t afford to fuck this up. So why did I fuck it up? Why did I do so horribly one time? And most importantly, why should it matter? I try, with all my might, to close that chamber door. But it’s impossible. The thoughts are already too far away. Front and center. Why can’t I do anything right?
Will I never get to rest?
Will I never taste the fruit of my labor? I’m not sure I can take any more of this. I’m so tired. So incredibly tired. Of the pressure, the demands, the responsibility. I’m so tired of the expectations. I’m tired of feeling like nothing I do is enough.
Inadequate. My middle name.