BET­TER TO HAVE LOVED

A vi­o­lent hate crime forces one man to re­alise he’s been both blessed and haunted by the great­est love of his life.

DNA Magazine - - CONTENT - by Ale­jan­dro Ruben Chavar­ria.

I met Glen back in 1996 at Bon­ham night­club in San An­to­nio, Texas. He caught my eye, even though I was in no mood to meet up with any­one that night and def­i­nitely wasn’t look­ing for “the one”. He kept flirt­ing with me and so fi­nally, af­ter an ul­ti­ma­tum from my best friend Noel who said, “You two have been eye­ing each other all night and if you don’t go up to him I’ll do it for you!” (Noel is some­one who would fol­low through on that, so ul­ti­mately I didn’t have a choice), I went up to him, said, “Hi, I’m Alex,” and our love story be­gan. I mean, heart-beat­ing fast, con­stant smiles, ma­jor at­trac­tion. I was like, what the hell is this feel­ing? Okay, I’m not go­ing to lie, I went home with him that night. But I had a rule: the un­der­wear is not com­ing off ! Need­less to say, I broke that rule!

Af­ter dat­ing for a year, we moved in to­gether. I’d love to share the de­tails of what led to the next 13 years, but that would be a novel. Within those years we had the best times in love, more of the best times in love and some of the worst times in love. We moved states, from Texas to Rhode Is­land, back to Texas, to Mary­land and fi­nally again back to Texas; but this last move was by my­self, in 2009.

Our love was go­ing right on so many lev­els and we knew we would grow old to­gether, no mat­ter what… but the worst hap­pened in Bal­ti­more, Mary­land. As we were walk­ing down­town, head­ing home af­ter a fun karaoke night on Septem­ber 22, 2008, some kid comes up be­hind us on a bike and points a gun at Glen. Glen asks, “Why are you do­ing this?” The kid doesn’t an­swer and just shoots him, twice. I couldn’t be­lieve it. We were now a statistic, vic­tims of a hate crime.

Glen was shot twice, once in the neck and once in the ab­domen. The neck, thank God, was not crit­i­cal. The ab­domen was crit­i­cal! The bul­let went through his left side and out his right side, rup­tured two ar­ter­ies, his spleen and mul­ti­ple parts of his in­testines. He lost a lot of blood – they used 50 litres of blood to keep him alive dur­ing the surgery. He sur­vived and, af­ter six months in the hospi­tal, he was re­leased with high hopes of sur­vival. Dur­ing these six months, and those that fol­lowed, our

“The kid doesn’t an­swer and just shoots him, twice. I couldn’t be­lieve it.”

love was the best again. It had grown stronger than ever… and it was right. Five months later, we even man­aged to get me a job back in Texas, to be closer to fam­ily who would help me take care of him, for it would be months or years for Glen to be any­thing close to nor­mal again. Un­til the worst in love hap­pened again.

We didn’t fore­see com­pli­ca­tions de­vel­op­ing from one fi­nal surgery he had in July 2009. He was back into hospi­tal, but this time it was bad; it was scary, it was not go­ing to end well. I had to leave him be­hind in Mary­land, in the hospi­tal, for it was not rec­om­mended he travel. So there I was in Texas at my new job and fly­ing back and forth ev­ery other weekend.

I told my­self all will be okay, he will get well enough to travel and I will move him back home to San An­to­nio. I was blinded by love. The truth was that he was not get­ting bet­ter. The doc­tors and the hospi­tal tried ev­ery­thing. They be­came like fam­ily to us. They were ab­so­lute an­gels. Fi­nally, they had the con­ver­sa­tion with me. The one af­ter Glen was tech­ni­cally gone ex­cept for equip­ment keep­ing him alive. The worst in love came the mo­ment I had to make a de­ci­sion, one that his fam­ily, my fam­ily and his two won­der­ful chil­dren left for me to make.

On Novem­ber 9, 2009, Glen took his last breath. This was the worst, most painful day of my life. I had never known what a bro­ken heart felt like un­til then, as I clenched my chest try­ing to make it go away. I had the best and worst in love, and to­day I say… he was so worth it! I love and miss you my love, my Glen… be­si­tos, mi amor!

en ootm n eft n e n ro e .

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