For the past three days I have been staring off into space a lot. Or sleeping. Or trying in vain to distract myself from the truth. The truth, that my friend is gone.
I’m without words but at the same time my brain is filled so full with things I want to say, it feels like it could explode. Does that make sense? Does anything make sense?
On Monday, a very good friend of mine was shot and killed. Ambushed by a couple teenage thug wannabes, one who I’ve heard has a large confederate flag tattooed on his chest, if that tells you anything about his level of intelligence (or lack thereof). He was selling them drugs, when they decided to rob him.
My friend was shot and killed over what? Something stupid. Something materialistic. Something that – no matter if it was money or if it was drugs – would be gone soon anyway and then what would they be left with?
Think what you think about drugs of any sort. But does someone deserve to be killed over them? Never. But it happens all too often. And this time it was way too close.
I first met him about 9 years ago – when I started working at the restaurant up the road from my parents’ house, when I was 20 and a day, legally old enough to sell alcohol though I couldn’t drink (legally).
In addition to someone who has become one of my very best friends in the world, I met several other awesome people who became good friends. Three of those people were brothers. Brian, Dave and Mike.
For a while I worked mostly with Dave and Mike, as they were both servers, and Brian – who I thought was much more quiet and shy – worked the expo line.
As I was there longer and longer and worked more and different shifts I got to know Brian just as well. I stood around waiting for my food to come up and struck up conversations.
Eventually the time came when I left that restaurant, and so did everyone else, eventually, because that location closed and is now some chicken place (after three other restaurants went in there and failed).
I don’t remember what got us talking again officially, who added who on Facebook, or who gave who their number to hang out sometime or text on occasion, but that was several years ago too.
And hang out we did – I remember one day in particular a couple years ago after he’d picked me up from a bar (I was kind of over it and just wanted to leave). I spent the night and all day the next day we just spent watching TV and listening to music, running random errands like him going to get cigarettes and stuff to cook and playing with his dog, Romey. It was one of those days, a relaxing day to spend with a friend and not worry about other responsibilities.
Though I knew he took pills, I only ever saw him actually take any one time of the several we hung out. Usually it was just he and I, catching up, talking about relationship drama we’d had with other people and how we both wanted better jobs and money to up and leave for a month to Costa Rica where we’d sit on the beach and drink Coronas and margaritas and have no other responsibilities than just making sure not to get a sunburn.
He was one I could text in the middle of the night – or anytime, really – with any problem I was having. He fended off a weirdo I didn’t want texting me anymore one time, telling the guy to “stop texting my girlfriend,” even though we were never that.
When Dave committed suicide in 2012, things changed. The happier texts were fewer and farther between, but when they happened, it was still the old Brian. But his brother’s death hit him hard. I remember the day he texted me that it had happened. When I called him and he was still in shock, still processing that it had happened.
One day last week would have been Dave’s 33rd birthday. On that day, I texted him, like we had so many times before, to tell each other we were thinking about them and let them know “I’m here, whatever you need. Love you.” It was a text that had become more frequent since Dave’s death – I checked in on him a lot. He’d been through some rough patches but seemed to me to be doing better, especially since I had dropped him off a few months ago at a hospital to see a counselor for some treatment for all he was feeling. Before we went though, he came to visit me at work and we had lunch, something I will always remember.
Anyway. On Dave’s birthday, I sent him one text. It said “Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking about you today. Love you.”
He wrote back, “Thanks. Love you too.”
That’s the last exchange we had.
I’m glad it included the word love, because I cared about him so much. I’m glad he was in my life, and that I was in his.
I keep reminding myself of this as I fight off the anger I have since he died – the anger at the complete waste of a person the moron is who shot him, the anger at him for putting himself into potentially dangerous situations like that night.
I miss him already.