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Last in Dallas

I can't help it.

It comes to no surprise to many when I describe myself as a happy, upbeat person. It shows all over my face all the time. But I can't help it as I sit here in Dallas, thinking about the last time I was here - it's not such a happy memory. Most of my thoughts are pleasant, but this one lingers with a sad and mournful taste, like black licorice on a rainy day.

I had gotten the call to go to work and was having a great morning. I had plenty of time to prepare and pack, knowing I would have an easy three day trip that paid well. The first night would be one flight from Los Angeles to Dallas, with a nice long layover. I planned to use the workout room, go swimming, explore a little... This trip was going to be fun.

I got on the plane and met the crew. The other Flight Attendant was a really sweet lady I liked right away. She and I shared a few laughs, relaxed, chatted with customers and just had fun the entire way. The captain and first officer were both nice guys too! I just knew I would have fun the whole three days.

We landed in Dallas and chatted the entire way out to the shuttle bus. I had forgotten my phone was in my large bag until it was already tucked into the back of the shuttle and we were on our way so I didn't check my messages or even turn my phone on. I didn't get a chance to.

We got to the hotel, checked in, and headed for our rooms. I figured at that point what I didn't know was going on in the world could wait until I got to my room at that point.

I got to the room, took my scarf off of my neck and switched on the power to my phone. As it booted up I kicked off my shoes and started to run a hot bath. I picked up the phone to check emails and messages, and when I bumped the Facebook application on my iPhone screen, I stared in shock at the first thing I saw.

In a moment of panic, I screamed. I'm not a screamer, but I screamed. It was a high, shrill sound that surprised even me. I fell to my knees, clutching my phone with both hands, crying out "No, no, no, no!!!" It seemed to be the only thing I could say for several minutes. The phrase was repeated over and over, with me not even realizing it was coming out of my mouth.

The man who had been my best friend almost my entire life, the one person in the world who knew just about everything about me and loved me anyway, the man i loved and adored beyond any other in a way that surpasses definition, my lifelong companion and kindred spirit - was dead. After six long, hard, brutal years, the brain tumor won. Bryon and I would never be able to do those things we had talked about doing.

But the Internet is notorious for false information and fake celebrity deaths, I thought. He had to be fine. He had to be. I closed Facebook and opened my text messages. There was a recent one from him. He had simply said he missed me. I never responded - but I missed him too. I pleaded with him in my next few painful words.

"Please tell me Facebook is wrong. Please. You have to be ok. Yes, I'll marry you. Just be ok."

I picked myself up off the floor with fresh hope. Surely Facebook was wrong. I switched back to Facebook while I waited for Bryon to respond. I started reading what others had written regarding my Bryon. Slowly, slowly, it began to sink in. I wouldn't be getting a response from Bryon. There would be no more responses from him.

Somewhere around 4am, severely sleep deprived and swollen faced from crying nonstop all night, I called the good people of Scheduling. In broken sobs, I explained to the young man what was going on. I couldn't even get it out all the way when he already had me booked on a 6am flight home.

My heart was broken to pieces in Dallas, shattered beyond repair. A part of me died that day. A part of me is missing. I think about Bryon every single day and carry his photo everywhere I go - but his presence is missed just that much more every time I'm in Dallas. I just can't help it. I lost a precious and irreplaceable love when I was last in Dallas.

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