I got news of a freak accident and senseless death of a good friend. I’ve known him since I was twelve. As a sixie, (The name given to the seventh graders because we have six years left to twelfth grade. Yeah, nerdy.com) I saw his art before I ever met him. There were several beautiful drawings of a woman on the hallway walls. Who. Made. Those? I had an instant crush on the artist sight unseen. The artist would soon be revealed to me. He became a good friend. I remember helping him plan how he could ask a girl to paint her since he was too shy to ask her out.
He lived in the art room. The art teacher was like a mother to him. He spent so much time in the art room. I wondered how he got any other class work done. Was he skipping everything else? He did graduate and get into Pratt University in Brooklyn with a handful of other visual artists from our nerdy high school. They were the crew that walked me around Greenwich Village when I was trying to decide what college to go to. They were all roommates. One of them is the big sister I never had to this day. She and he are best friends, brother and sister more accurately. Having no family, we all are his chosen family.
For the past several days memories keep flashing through my mind. My brain still can’t quite process that he’s gone. So fast. So Soon. Just like that. How many people can say they actually know someone who made good on the threat to run away with the circus? I can. He did it. He travelled doing lights for a touring circus. The circus is where he made another set of family. Like most artists, he’s had a myriad of survival jobs. He had also been a bike messenger & worked at a bike shop. I wonder if one of these gigs fostered his love of riding.
He had a motorcycle as well as a pedal bike. I keep thinking of all the times I’d hug him and warn him to be careful on that motorcycle. Like many riders, he’s been in his share of accidents. But he was always ok. There’s breath taking irony in the fact that he died on a pedal bike. He was taking a post work bike ride. Someone opens a car door and he flips to his death.
This left me with many feelings. When people close to me pass, I had gotten to a point of celebrating the fact that they are now back in the realm of spirit. I also usually feel a surge of inspiration to do all of the things that I fear or procrastinate from doing. This time though, I started feeling like I mind as well just go get a menial job, collect a pay check, find some television programs to tune into each night and bide my time till death. If it can end just that fast, what is the point?
I am reminded by my younger sister (I call her my big little sister), of a very important point. The way that I have chosen to live my life, gives me some level of joy and happiness each day. This is true. Even with the challenges, the roller coaster ride of ups and downs of being a performer if I die tomorrow, I will have died going after dreams I dreamed up for myself. I have been trying to figure out what the lesson is in loosing such an open, big-hearted friend in this way. I can say that knowing him was a lesson in being open, unconditionally loving, forever curious and always learning. I can say that if it can all be over in a second, I mind as well be doing what gives me joy.
Thank you for always being a bright light to everyone you met. Thank you for always making everyone feel great about whatever choices they made. Thank you for being LOVE. I miss you. I’m glad to have known you. I will treasure all of the memories & continue to learn from your spirit.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran