A Late Goodbye

What follows is an intensely personal and heart wrenching story.  It is also true.  The author has requested that this post not be shared to Facebook in particular, to avoid dredging up any further pain for those involved.  Please be kind.  Thank you.

Melanie McCurdie


The Twisted Path Group

There is a point in everyone’s life where they have to make a change for the better. Growing up I had a great life, many friends and family. It was like a fairy tale told by a kid who cannot grow up. I did quite the series of crazy tales, I remember wandering into an old abandoned house in the woods and running at the slightest sound, or swimming with a manta ray. Many times I even escaped death; a few times, I got electrocuted by an electric socket, I ran from wild hogs on a hunting trip, had a few car accidents. But it was one car accident that actually changed me, and many years to come.

Her name was Kalena Gallespie. She was so pretty, “pretty” being a word I threw out for anything and everything I liked. But she was so pretty I had to make words to describe, and she was sitting right next to me drinking her shamrock shake and giggling at all my corny jokes. When I met her for the first time I disliked her. She was naggy and annoying, she would always follow me and my girlfriend wherever we went, just because she was best friends with her doesn’t mean she had to follow like a sheep or a little puppy. When I received a call from a buddy saying my girlfriend had cheated on me, something I would be use to for a while. I went through the normal phases of a heartache but one day in the middle of my teenage sorrow, Kalena shows up and exciting about something. “What do you want?” I asked with a cold raspy voice.

“We got to go to the park there is a festival”. Why on god’s green earth would I go to a festival with her? Why would I even leave the house? I hate the sun, I hate outside.

“I got plans” I replied closing the door but was soon interrupted by her foot, seeing through my lies and mean look, she would not let me take her for a fool.

“Now” and that’s all that needed to be said, just for someone to care for me that’s all I ever wanted, like really care. Why was she giving this to me? It doesn’t matter it is just a festival.

This place was lame just a bunch of central Texas folks getting together for a history talk and recreation with outstanding BBQ, I went for the BBQ.  “What first tater tot?” she had a nickname for everyone, mine was usually something cute or a food.

“I don’t care but we need to go check that brisket I hear it bleeds excellence.” We spent 5 hours at this place and she got me to smile only ONCE and that was just because looking into her eyes and watching her just go on about things I didn’t care about but I acted like I did anyways just because she was giving me the time of day, something I was not used to.

“Why do you hate me?” I shook out of my day dreams and looked like a jigsaw puzzle trying to find an answer.

“I don’t hate you, I just wish you could have given me and Annie some space, but that doesn’t matter now.”

“I’m really sorry about what happened” she said lowering her head as if she just offended an entire village. I couldn’t help but to feel awful now.

“Hey lets have lunch tomorrow huh?” now one thing about Kalena, was if she got excited about something YOU KNEW, her face lit up and she began to bounce like a kid in a bounce house. I couldn’t help but to feel happy now.

1936 publicity photo via pintrest
1936 publicity photo via pintrest

The following weeks ranged from fun to I can’t believe that just happened. She was a princess, a goddess. She was not the most popular girl in school, but she was known for her party antics. Not to say she was THAT girl but she enjoyed her beer and smoking. I talked to her about it, asking her to maybe stop, she would get hurt. She took all my advice and got sober and even went to church after hearing a Carrie Underwood song. One night I asked her to go get a shake with me and sit and watch the stars. And here we are again, staring into her eyes and shaking, thinking of what I am about to ask. She didn’t have to think too hard and she giggled and asked “Something on that mind sport?”

“I just wanted to ask you to go out and maybe a kiss?” she laughed and moved in. I feel fear, I feel cold, what if she becomes just another cheater or liar. Her lips met mine and I no longer felt fear. I felt warm I felt, well just groovy. I pulled back and began to giggle and we both laughed as we drove off. I looked into her eyes and told her I would text her and let her know what we should do on the weekend.

When the next day came I got distracted with other things and let her slip my mind, my mother walks in the room. “Jacob your Dad’s on the phone.”

The following days became a blur echoes of my dad saying “She’s dead… there has been a car accident.” played out as if it were a bad dream and I was in the front row. I didn’t want to get up I did not want to breathe. She was my best friend, I loved her. My mother came to me when it was time to see the casket, I walked slowly and dizzy, I leaned over and there she was my friend my partner in crime, she looked terrible, and that image still burns in my head. After that I became a total train wreck, I joined the navy thinking I could escape her death, escape my family fighting every day, and for 4 weeks it did, until I saw her. As if she was really there she walked beside me and didn’t even notice me. In a panic I found the Chaplin and told him my experiences and he said I could still be having trouble with it, and that many people have similar features.


When I graduated I felt proud, I felt great! And I was ready for my first station. Within a few weeks everything was perfect made friends, great chain of command. But like most things in my life a phone call ruined it, my parents are divorcing, my dog died, and my fiancé left me for a friend of mine.  “When it rains it pours huh?” my chief said in an attempt to make me laugh. He recommended some time off to think and fight the demons in my heart and mind. I discovered one of my favorite bands was playing in Seattle and I had time to go. On the way there I couldn’t help but think, why am I getting to have fun? She is dead because of me and my parents can’t stand each other and I am going to have a good night. At the concert I sat at the bar and began to drift off into a phase I liked to call sad panda mode, motionless, thousand yard stare. I didn’t care about anything. Then as if it were a dream the singer, my hero Waylon came up and sat next to me and said “Looks like you are needing some serious moshing brother” I explained to him what had happened and he looked at me and said “Listen buddy we all have times in our lives when we don’t see it going anywhere and shoot we don’t want it to, but getting up and enjoying what ya got, now that’s metal” I looked up as if this man was glowing with awesome. The show began and I sat and watched and like a slow motion fight scene, I threw a grin.

Not long after that I began to go outside, talk about how I felt, that I did not desire to be happy. I got help from friends and what family was there. I even got help from Casper van Dien a childhood hero and even more so now. I began to fill my life with positivity and many activities, but I never really had a chance to go home, one year and I never took a leave day. And I never really said goodbye. Texas has this thing no matter what time of the day it is, if there’s something emotional going on.  there is a sunset, and that’s how it was in the cemetery. Her tombstone was very neat and taken care of, and was set next to a tree. I pulled up and stood there for half an hour saying nothing, and a tear was shed. I fell to my knees crying telling her I was sorry. But after all this time I realized, it was her time, she had to go, she was too perfect, she finally found true happiness. I looked up and the sun got bright and the wind picked up as if this was some cheap love movie, she really was in a better place. I stood up and looked into the heavens; I waved and said my final goodbyes. It was late, but I finally made my peace in that late goodbye.

By Jacob Craig


*Final Note*

This is an intensely personal piece of writing.  At the request of the author I am asking,  please, do not share this particular post to Facebook.  Thank you. 


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