Katie and I met at the beginning of 2006. I had just graduated from college a few months earlier and I moved back home to South Florida to start my "grown-up" life. I'll never forget the first time I saw her. We met in a bar, I bought a round of drinks for her and her friends and I ended up having one of the best nights of my life. We all got a little too drunk that night, as we all often used to do back in those days; back in my younger "party" days. I made it home that night and passed out in my bed. I remember waking up in the morning feeling so positive. I felt good in a way that I had never felt before in my life and I couldn't get the image of Katie from the previous night out of my head. All morning, all day, all week, I just kept having an image, randomly and very often, pop into my mind of this beautiful young woman smiling, standing in front of me, looking at me with her beautiful blue eyes. We met by chance, really a one-in-a-million chance - pure luck. Katie and I later called it fate, destiny. That night, I was meeting one of Katie's friends, just briefly to say hello. Katie's friend and I did not know each other very well, but she asked me if I wanted to come inside and have a drink with her and her friends. I was getting ready to start my night out on the town with my best friend Justin and I figured a quick drink in this bar was a great way to start. When I agreed to join them for a drink, I had no intention of staying at that bar at all. Justin and I actually had big plans in downtown Ft. Lauderdale that night. Well, once I saw Katie inside this bar in little old West Hollywood, Justin and I ended up staying there the whole night. We didn't leave until it was time to go bed, and that only happened because the bar was closing and the sun was coming up soon. It really was our destiny to meet that night. Katie's friend had asked me to join her for drinks on many previous occasions and I always declined. That one night, the night that Katie was inside the building, with her and I never seeing each other before and never even hearing of one another before - that was the one night and the first time that I agreed to stay and have a drink. Katie and I had our first date about two or three weeks later on March 2, 2006. I know the date exactly because I took a picture of her that night and the date was saved. On that first date she and I talked all night and we hit it off as if we had known each other for years. We both talked so comfortably and enjoyed each other's company. I was blown away. I tried not to be. I had just gotten out of a relationship a month before that and I had every intention of enjoying my single life, partying every night, working every day, going to the gym six days a week, and starting my professional life putting my college degrees to good use by starting my own business. I thought I didn't have time to be in love, to devote time to someone else. Katie and I saw each other almost every day for the next few months. When I wasn't working during the day, I was with her. When I got off work at night, I went to the gym and then straight to wherever Katie was. My heart and soul were totally devoted and falling increasingly for her. In my mind I tried to rationalize everything that was going on and I fought the urge to tell her I loved her. I knew she was special from the day we met and I could not get her off my mind from that very first meeting. I wanted to tell her that I loved her after I had only known her for a few weeks, but I fought that urge. I didn't want to say it if it wasn't real. I also didn't want to say it too fast and catch her off guard. But the truth was and is, that I wanted to tell her I loved her after that first date. I fought that urge for months before I finally couldn't hold it in anymore. I was spending so much energy trying to keep those feelings bottled up. So, one night, it just came out...I love you. Totally random, off subject, but it was on my mind, so I said it. She didn't say it back. She looked puzzled, but she was smiling as if saying "I knew it". I was worried a little that maybe she didn't feel the same way because she didn't say it back. But she still wanted to see me every day, still couldn't stop looking at me, still couldnt stop smiling at me. So, even though she didn't say it, I knew it. Then one day, a couple of weeks after I said the words, she finally said, "I love you". I'll never forget that day. She caught me off guard this time. I hadn't said it again since I first told her. So, this day, we were in a store window shopping and I was telling her how cool I thought a toy robot was and then she just said she loved me. I tried to play it cool this time. I didn't glance at her. I just kept talking about the robot. I had a huge smile on my face, but I didn't want to let her know how happy I was to hear those words. I tried to be the cool guy. So, after I said my last words about the robot, I turned to walk down the store aisle and continue shopping. Then, Katie grabbed my arm, turned me around with all her might, looked me in the eyes, and said it again. Our smiles never left our faces. After she told me she loved me that second time, I took her into my arms and whispered into her ear, "I know you do. I knew you have. What took you so long?" Then I told her I loved her too. We were so happy together. We spent so much time together. We talked about the future and had so many plans together. I was so excited and I felt like my future couldn't get any brighter than it already was. I had found my soulmate and I wasn't going to let her go. Katie hid her drug habits very well. I had no clue to the extent of the problems. I thought everything was fine. Then we started to have arguments over nothing; fights out of nowhere. It didn't make sense to me. I couldn't understand why we argued and fought some days while other days life was so great. I couldn't believe the stories her friends told me about her drug use. I didn't want to believe them. Katie denied them all and had me convinced that everyone was lying to me. At that point, the drugs had a hold of her. They had a hold of her so good that her soulmate couldn't change it. I had my heart broken many times watching things turn and change for the worse. I had my spirits high and heart open every time she would come back into my life. But, she always left me again, crushed and hurting. I was always afraid of the day that something bad would happen. But, I also never honestly believe it would be any time soon. I thought she was too young, too smart, too beautiful, and too important for anything bad to really happen to her. I kept hoping she would one day see the light and realize I was waiting for her to come back. We talked about growing old together and having kids. Even when she got out of rehab in August 2010, we still talked about those things. Even though I had not seen her in half a year, been able to trust her in a year and a half, we still loved each other the same. When she came back from rehab, she told me she wanted to try to have a baby, she wanted to marry me. I was so excited. But, I was also afraid that one day she would just leave again. I wanted to make sure she was strong and able to stand on her own two feet. But, she left me again. Disappeared, changed her number like she had many times before. I knew she was using again. Her friends now tell me that she never stopped using. Those same friends that now want to say that she never really did stop using, are the same friends that were always doing drugs with her. They aren't to blame. It is just a sad fact that Katie and all of her druggie friends kept dragging each other down the dark and sad spiral. The drugs aren't to blame. Katie isn't to blame. She was an addict. The drugs got a hold of her and wouldn't let go. She wanted to quit. She wanted to stop. One of the last times we spoke, she told me how much she hated those pills and how afraid of them she was. Katie's mother called me on Thanksgiving evening to tell me that Katie had passed away that morning from a drug overdose. When I first heard what was said to me, I thought that it couldn't be real, it was impossible, it had to be a joke. That thought gave way to reality and complete shock. I felt like I couldn't move. I couldn't speak. I was at dinner with my family for Thanksgiving in Boca. After the phone call, everyone asked me what happened. I couldn't say it, I couldn't repeat it. I could only tell everyone that I had to go. I said goodbye and drove back towards Hollywood. I found myself falling apart and to pieces. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to think. I was in a state of shock. I felt like my mind was stuck in neutral, unable to move backwards or forwards, or even be in the moment. It is as if my mind was not connecting to the reality in front of me. I tried to go back to work a week after thanksgiving. I found my days starting early and ending late every day, but I never got anything done. I sat, drove, walked, typed, spoke, acted as if I wasn't truly there. I still don't know exactly what happened to all that time that had gone by. But it wasn't until a week after new years that my mind finally started to return to my body. I was depressed, still am. Only now I am able to get out of bed and face the challenges in my day. I've surrounded myself with and in my work, my job, my business. My work has been the only thing that has been able to keep me going, keep my mind occupied, keep my sane. Not a day goes by that I don't think of Katie. I don't break down every time now, the way I did for weeks. But I still get tears in my eyes many times day, sometimes I get the tears on my shirt, my pants, the floor. Sometimes I am able to keep them from dripping out. It doesn't hurt any less. The pain doesn't go away. The empty feeling, the sadness, the void - those don't go away. My soul aching and lonely, doesn't get happy. I'll never be at peace with myself that I didn't try to do more, even though everyone tells me I did everything I could and her friends tell me I did more than anyone else ever would have. Katie is still gone and for the rest of my life I will wish she wasn't. I can only be mad and stay mad at the drugs after going through heartache and pain because of them. I can only be mad at the drugs after seeing some of the pain that her family is going through. Katie wasn't always an addict, the drugs turned her into one. If I think of all of these bad things that have happened, my mind never stops. I could chase this pain and anger until no end. I can only find comfort in the happy memories that I have of Katie now. I get angry and upset over the negative things. But now, it is not anger because these things happened, it is anger because these thoughts take away from my happy memories. So, I try keep the negative thoughts out and think of all of the amazing memories I have of all the great things we did together. It breaks my heart and rips me to pieces as I think of these beautiful memories and realize that she is gone, but that is better than being full of anger and rage. At least my mind can be at ease and I take comfort in knowing that my soul mate is now an angel watching over me. I miss her more than my words could ever say. I hurt more than I ever thought I could. I will love Katie until the day I die. My soul will always wait to see her again. Rest In Peace, my sweet Katie. Love, Always and forever, Denes
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