The closer it gets, the more my stomach curls up in knots, my chest tightens, I can feel my hands start quivering and
I lose my breath, The slow build up to the boom my chest feels every time April 4th comes around. For many it’s just any other day, but for the group I’ve come to know as family (C&D), for the parents, siblings, classmates, co-workers, friends, and family it’s a day the world turns a bit slower. Two people were lost far too soon on this day that now marks it’s 5 year anniversary and everytime March rounding April hits, I anticipate and dread it.
I love seeing people write on social media, commemorating, sharing stories, memories, pictures,posts, and messages of love and adoration in remembrance of Garvin Campbell and Anthony Thomas. I love knowing no matter how near or far in miles, many of us are linked together now through you both. We can all come together and let your wonderful spirits and memories live on together. I love knowing that for the rest of our lives we will never be tired of singing your praises and sharing your stories with others, refusing to let the world forget you despite your physical absence. I can’t help but smile and shed a tear at the same time because in remembering so many stories and seeing so many pictures, there’s a sadness knowing there’s no new ones to make, no new pictures I can share, time inevitably has stopped for us all through the relationships we shared with you both in those moments. That’s hard for me to say, even harder to write.
My relationship with them both was so different. Me and Ant (antonius to me) liked to joke around so much and he often beat me in our war of words and wits, with his charm like only Ant could, but he was always a good friend to me,god he and Grant were like a bridge for me and Garvin. Most people know my relationship with Garvin was especially poignant for me because we dated and he represented so many transitional points in my life at that time and even to this day. I actually laughed telling someone that story here in Chicago, how he came into life and forever left a mark that was stamped not by his death, but the life we shared together in and out of our relationship. Many people actually don’t know the story so I decided to share it because amongst the many things I have and will write about, Garvin is a very almost untouchable story for me, but here goes ( and it’s a condensed version).
We met in this very unconventional moment of my life, I was still reeling from the break-up of my High School Sweetheart and was in this weird area in the last months of my senior year where I was just lost.
I no longer fit in a world I spent almost 4 years integrating myself to with people who to this day share a large chunk of my High School history. Prom, Homecoming, Social Events, Parties, Make-ups, Break-ups, (you name it) literally had been spent with a select number of people and my high school sweetheart. Priceless moments that really summed up my High School experience.
A lingering force of a man who had always tried to get me to hang out with him outside of school welcomed little lost me into his world and I happened to stumble upon Garvin listening to music on a back porch in the back yard. He was struggling with his English class and employed me to tutor him after school at his house he shared with his best friend Grant, and I took the challenge. Eventually study sessions turned into romance, and before I knew it I was in a brand new world filled with new people, ideals, perceptions, and just life choices I’d never encountered before.
Garvin and this group literally broke every convention I ever had in high school, and the transition made on my half was a physical and emotional one as I stumbled my way through the last moments of senior year. They (garvin & the boys) never judged me though, not for a minute. Not when I was complaining, whining, or hopelessly still lost amongst these Band of Brothers who listened to me, cared for me, and were always there with arms open wide welcoming me into their circle, their family.
I wasn’t a peach to deal with either, I was very naive to many things going on around me, and navigating this new ocean of people was not an easy task for me at all. Being with Garvin was never easy for me, we were never easy. From start to finish, we terrorized the group with our fights, antics, and bantering that I know had everyone wishing for a cease fire. Coming out of a long-term relationship and being with someone who was the polar opposite of the guy I had loved was hard on me, it was hard to accept and deal when Garvin fought back against normalcies I was used to with another person.
But what people didn’t see (except for a limited few) was our quiet moments. Mornings spent lying in his room listening to his music until the excitement of the day forced us out, continuous laughter between us both being so goofy, doing a slow dance in the park on our first date, sharing snow cones, late nights on the couch in the living room sleeping until it was my curfew. The long phone conversations until 2am when he was away in New York, the excitement of road trips to the lake and him carrying me through the water in his arms, the way we collided and separated in this puzzle piece fashion. I never glamorize us together because even if I could the boys always give me a memory to counteract it because as much as they hated our fighting, they thought it was funny as well.
I always wish I would have told him Thank You, I don’t think I ever did back then. Cause he saved me in so many different ways. People who knew what my break-up did to me knew that being out of that world, out of that element of people I had called my friends
left me in a darker place. And I can tell you especially in high school nothing is worse than feeling alone or out of place, and he embraced everything that was going on. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to take on, but he did, and he brought so much light to me in my dark place. He showed me music, and being a free-spirit, embracing your creativity, and being unapologetic and fearless for your choices and owning them, and even though I understood none of it then, I did as we got older. I think in retrospect Garvin probably saw the me I was going to be and tried to let her out then, and that me wasn’t ready for that new Desiree
I went away for college we kept something between a friendship and romance alive making some type of line between the two that only we could do and dance over until April 4, 2010 when he was gone. I write this now because I know I won’t be able to again, or in a few weeks when 5 years hits and the day stops for me as it always does.Getting to share those memories with each other and the new people in our lives is nice and comforting almost. For everything I see and touch here in Chicago being such an artistically creative city, I almost sense his presence. Sometimes when I’m really really lucky he’ll visit me in a dream, or I think I see him passing by me on the street, or I’ll hear his music as if he’s next to me cranking out his playlist. We were so many things, none of which I could sum up no matter how many words I write, He could never be summed up, but We Were Us.