outside her comfort is her zone

The Last Conversation I Had with Tyler by Will Field

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I still browse through the ongoing text message thread I had with Tyler.

In the late fall of 2014 we parted ways as a couple. We ended our relationship just shy of two years together. I couldn’t convince her to move to Maine. It was too far north and she’d never been. She loved the mountains too much. We remained close friends (an age-old cliche but actually true in this case). I spoke to her more than I speak to the majority of my own family members and close friends. We texted, “liked” each others’ instagram posts and spoke on the phone regularly. We shared details in our lives from dating prospects to anxieties to new goals, ideas, and aspirations. We kept each other updated on all of the things in that made us pull our hair out and all of the things that made us proud of ourselves.

She was the happiest I’ve ever seen her when I last spoke to her. It was Wednesday night; the start of her weekend. The upcoming Saturday she would climb Teewinot. She was glowing and effusive of her life, her new knees and her budding and impressive track record as an endurance athlete. “Meredith [Edwards…a Jackson-based ultramarathoner and Tyler’s coworker at C-V] wants me to try to get sponsored…,” she said dismissively as she rolled her eyes. Her humility was earnest. I believed she could do it. She had requisite endurance, guts and discipline . I’m not sure if she knew that about herself. Then she’d tell me how hungover she was at the Afton trail run in which she casually nabbed a silver medal. “I couldn’t push through and beat that 21 year-old at the end. Whatever, I was on three hours of sleep.”

She regularly interrupted the hour-long Facetime conversation to get me to “talk” to Milly. It didn’t work.

In retrospect this was the most unforgettable conversation I’ve ever had in my life. We were on the best of terms. She was so happy she couldn’t wait for the days ahead to come. I thought of her often up until the day the news trickled in from various friends and sources of the horrible tragedy. Thank you, Tyler. We didn’t know it at the time but this phone call wrote a happy epilogue to our life chapter together. When my death comes, I resolve to be as fulfilled and optimistic as I know you were when you passed away.

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