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Number 700 – You and I, Part 2

Thank you all so much for giving me the time to finish this. This is the companion comic to You and I, Part 1. Also the 700th comic of the series. Also the close to Chapter 6. I'm happy to say they read really well with the music. ;P

 

 

 

So Part 1 dealt with the death of David's wife, and the sequel deals with his son. Ellie factors into both since she's David's way of moving on. This goes way back to when David used to visit Ellie at her fast food job, and his reasoning was 'desperation.' I came up with this part of the story back in 2010, and it drew directly from real life. I also had a room I never went in. I was under contract with a company, I just relocated with, for two years. I was also under a new lease with an apartment complex. Two obligations I could not break without incurring severe and substantial monetary penalties.  I bought both my kids, who were 2 and 3 at the time, all new furniture, sheets, toys... everything. We were in a new state. New circumstances. Didn't know anyone. Dad was going to make this as comfortable as possible. I moved up to Maryland first. About 2 weeks. Moved an entire apartment worth of belongings by myself. Wife eventually followed suit. She stayed for about a month, before proposing driving to see her mother for part of the summer, 3 states away. I was working like a dog opening a new Mid-Atlantic Regional Distribution Center. I clocked somewhere over 120 hours one week.. so it seemed reasonable. She never came back. I was trapped in that job, and that apartment for what felt like an eternity until I could finally break free. I never went in the kids room that entire time. Ever. That may as well have been death. I knew I couldn't go in there without totally breaking down. I had a coworker, Gary, who I'd talk to a lot. He told me how he was going through the same situation, except his child had actually died in a car accident. He kept his son's room completely the same for years. Always took the anniversary off from work, every year, to mourn. Me: "Does it get better for you?" Him: "Yes and no. You just go from one numbness to another." So I took our two experiences, and made part of the comic out of it. Now I don't know the true severity of losing a child, but I have some experience of being lost without them. If anyone reading ever has, you have my greatest sympathies and utmost respect. Gary, if you're reading, I hope you're doing well. Love you, brother. Next post will be Tuesday, and I have a mess of Patreons on the way. I still have hours of work to complete outside, getting the house ready to sell. Most of our things are packed, and the family will be moving to Texas on June 8th-9th. As soon as this is posted I'm getting everything staged in the garage to load up. Oh, and while packing.. came across this little fella from an old apartment I was stuck in nearly a decade ago.

47 thoughts on “Number 700 – You and I, Part 2

  1. Was able to hold it together through the comic…even managed to get through your own story and hell, we’re selling our house and moving next week, as well.
    Then I saw Scout…my son has the same one; he’s almost three. Lost it.

  2. Hey, for all it’s worth –

    I was in Bosnia before the IFOR (international force) got there, and it was a clusterf**k. Chaos, with ruins everywhere, and people basically living in fear from the previous violence that had been going on for years before I got there. Kids living in these conditions of fear and death and never knowing when it’s coming. Give me a minute, this is going somewhere.

    We got called to a school on the edge of Sarajevo, because the mortars of rogue Serbians were hitting the nearby buildings in the region, and they were calling for help evac’ing the place. My group was just nearby identifying some abandoned hardware left by the Croats. So we made the decision to go, and we start leading kids out of this school, and there’s this older kid who kept pushing to go back into the school to get his brother and sister. And one shell hits the right side of the building and it’s on fire now. Kids slips past me – me of all people – and runs back in. I went after him.

    So I find him with his siblings and they are running to me when another shell hits the roof right above us. I felt it in my bones before I saw the damage. The hallway is blocked between me and them. I’m trying to get these kids out of there, and calling for help on my radio and just pulling timbers aside. There’s a hole big enough for his siblings to get through so he shoves them through and tells me to get them out safely. I told him I’d come back and help him, but when I got outside, another building collapsed on that side of the school. I went back in but the entire cement roof had collapsed on him. We left there in a hurry, with two crying siblings who wouldn’t let go of me.

    I personally went with the humanitarian group who delivered the kids to their parents and personally told his mother (his father had been gone for like three years) about his bravery and why his two younger siblings were still alive. And the sound she made when she cried still haunts me to this day, as well as having occasional dreams of me telling the kid I was coming back for him and not being able to go back. It will stick with me until the day I can’t remember anything anymore or I die. I can only imagine how painful it is to lose a child, and I’m sure it’s way more painful that that. I look at my son now and it makes me so afraid of losing him.

    This comic brought that fear back out, but it’s not a bad thing. I’m glad we can talk about these things, and get past that pain, even if it never EVER goes away.

    1. This is a tremendous story and you are nothing less than a hero. I am so terribly sorry for the horrors you’ve gone through, but I am very thankful that people like you exist in this world.

      1. They always tell us not to talk about these things in the military, because military people “don’t talk about stuff.” So until I met my significant other, I basically kept it all inside. Then I realized that’s why most veterans are broken – they are trained not to talk about all the painful stuff that erodes you from the inside. It wasn’t until just recently after the last two wars that we’ve started having counseling and group therapy with actual civilians. You have to talk about it, otherwise it’s killing you slowly. It also helps others who are grieving know that they aren’t alone, that we understand their pain.

        I dunno if I am a hero. I’m the guy that happened to be there, and I would hope others like people who post on this comic would do the same thing.

      2. ADGOSGINSDGSDG!

        That was my reply, btw. My browser is just a piece of crap that doesn’t always take my credentials and causes the comments to not recognize me.

    2. I was in the service much later (went in 05). All I can say is thank you. I had a longer reply but I just couldn’t finish it. Thank you for sharing your story. I share your pain though it’s a different situation. And I’m sorry it went as it did.

  3. WOW. Did not expect it but tears Formed In Response. So Terribly powerful. I could not even imagine what that would be like

  4. This touches on how I feel sometimes. Some days, this is better what’s shown here. A few times, I feel better than what’s shown here.

    Death is a frigid b*tch.

  5. My ex took my children moved 3 states over and poisoned their minds. I will never see my kids again. I know EXACTLY what you mean. Birthdays and Christmas are not times of joy. After 5 years I emptied their rooms. I still don’t go into that side of the house very often.

  6. Let this and part 1 stand as the final word on why you scream your head off at someone who drives recklessly. You have permission. It Will save their life, or the lives of others.

    On a (much) more positive note, WOOOHOO! #700 at a decade in and going stronger every time.

  7. Omg as a new parent this hit me so hard. You did an amazing job not just with the art, but the writing too!

  8. Don’t let anybody tell you you’re just a cartoonist. Those eyes, these facial expressions. You nailed it, mister.

    It’s been called “the thousand yard stare”. The look of a man who has seen too much, felt too much, has been on that edge of the abyss and has questioned himself why. Just why.
    His expression in this artwork is perfect. And the look in her eyes tells it all.

    Please, dear God, for all that is sacred. Let’s not let this moment go to waste.
    These 2 souls need each other in so many ways.

  9. Just the idea of losing my kids… it’s staggering… it’s I don’t even know. Scares the living hell out of me. Can’t imagine what you went through, and even more so what your friend went through. I have a few patients who’ve lost children and I don’t know how they go on every day. I don’t know what it really feels like to actually lose them, but this comic easily encompasses the pit in my stomach when I even think about it. This was really masterfully done and you are to be commended for the weight and emotion you put into this comic. I’m gonna go cry for a bit now and stare at my kids while they sleep.

  10. Wow. No eloquence here, just – wow. That’s very powerful, and the green toy…
    So hey, Claire, Chris has come here for you. I get the feeling he’s portrayed Ellie with the look you’ve given him.

  11. You portrayed this beautify and gave it a realism and impact… and I am so sorry to hear that its because you have direct experience. Bravo for taking your pain and making something beautiful out of it. And I feel touched that I got to share in it.

  12. Sonofa…yep, crying actual tears. Beautiful and sad, and holy crap I can see Ellie leveling up before my eyes from ‘Slightly Self-Centered but Maturing Kid’ to ‘Caring, Empathetic Adult’.

  13. so the loss of his family caused his blindness……and I don’t blame him especially when he had a wife like that and awesome little guy like that

  14. I am, officially, a basket case of emotion right now. BTW I love how you expressed David’s emotional state using colors. It’s a very nice touch.

  15. You’ve set the stage for some epic foreshadowing with this one if the brow sweat in the restaurant confession is connected to who I think it is.

  16. I don’t comment, usually, But this page… I just cannot stay silent. You have really outdone yourself here. I could expand on how everything gels together: the changes of scale, the colors, the frames, the dialogue, the body language…. but all of these are mere techniques (superbly mastered) that would not amount to much if they were not powered by the emotion of the story. And that emotion is a rare thing in most comics: it has the feeling of authenticity.

    After reading webcomics for a long time, and with the attention span of a gnat and the memory of a goldfish (according to my ADHD daughter, that’s saying something), I don’t remember many pages. This one, I will probably never forget. It’s this brilliant.

  17. This really hit me hard with a serious case of the feels.
    I lost my twins (Damien & Tia RIP) and i can totally relate to that overwhelming darkness.
    It takes a long time to claw your way out of that darkness and you never really truly heal.
    The thing that got me was the fact that David is blind and all he has is his memories and that is all he is ever going to remember and see forever of little Sam. I have images in my minds eye that i can push away when it gets too difficult and look at other things and see the beauty in them. But at least i have that option. I see a strength in David.

  18. im 30. married with dogs. we dont intent to procreate. but if my wife and dog died in an accident as horrible as this, i would consider it unhealthy to sleep with a busty 19 year old as a “way to move on”. or am i reading this wrong?

    1. I understand where you’re coming from, but what’s going on here isn’t so simple as “sleeping with a busty 19 year old as a way to move on.” It’s been 11 years since the accident, and David’s first connection to Ellie began as simple interest as he was indirectly involved in the events that led to her being kicked out of the family home after she plagiarized Pumpkin’s essay. I imagine he felt some indirect responsibility in that matter and used his visits to O’Jacks as a way to not only give Ellie advice but also break out of his own shell of solitude and misery. Although Ellie expressed some interest in David way back then, he didn’t reciprocate with any sort of romantic interest until she actually matured and took some of the advice he had given her.

      On their first date, he felt comfortable enough with her to share the story of the accident (except the part about Sam), which I’m guessing was one of the first times he had told the story to someone like this. It speaks to a connection and intimacy between the two and how much trust he is putting on the line with her. As for them sleeping together, I want to point out that David didn’t initiate that, Ellie did. If you’d been single for over a decade after losing your wife, and then developed a connection with another woman who not only reciprocates your feelings but then makes it clear in no uncertain terms that she is physically attracted to you as well, I think nobody can blame David for getting caught up in the moment and letting the relationship go to the next stage.

  19. BTW — as a freelance writer and editor, that’s the best post copy you’ve ever created for this comic. Saving the little green pup for the end — priceless narrative. Well done!

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