Friday, July 31, 2009
Beer: Old Speckled Hen
Date: July 31st, 2009
Place: The house, Somerville, MA
The sky has just opened up. Not unlike that day it swallowed my best friend.
The first time I went to Lee's, it was Christmastime. We both had managed dates with seniors in high school, while we were only freshman, but freshmen who'd been to our first rock concert the month prior - it was Primus and we were legends and rode to Nashville and knew that all of lives were going to change, the most obvious change was that we now had license to date seniors and talk about all the shows we'd been to (1) and all that we planned on going to soon (2).
We talked for twenty minutes about it and I was still unable to establish where he lived. Somewhere in Indian Trace on a road down the street from someone with a lot of Christmas lights. Finally, Beverly got on the phone and gave me the street address and we were there within the hour.
An hour later, we realized an important life lesson: one cannot go to an R rated movie with seniors when they themselves are fifteen, no matter how uncool it actually is. So while our dates watched Seven Monkeys we watched Grumpier Old Men, which is what I thought we'd become.
We lived together in Mississippi and in Georgia. I was with him at three in the morning when we found out that Princess Diana died. I've personally taken him to the hospital no fewer than 3 times. I've fought with him and gone on roadtrips to Charleston and to Mentone and to San Francisco and Nashville. I got a tattoo with him. I've watched him blow off tests and seen him with a goatee that looked like he should have been in Pantera. I watched him get grounded. I saw him fall in love a number of times and the last time was it, the time, he committed and was going hard out and it was going to be something.
I can't tell all the stories of Lee and how much I loved him and how I miss him or how I weep, openly, when I stop my life for just a minute and remember that I had a friend, who was closer than anyone I've ever been to, who encouraged me and cheered me on and was there and was there and was there until he just wasn't.
He's never met my wife. That's what really breaks my heart.
The fact that the one person who I am closest to in my life will never know the other person who I was closest to.
I was at her house when I got the call.
They were driving home from his bachelor weekend, a weekend I would have been at had I not just started a job a month before, and the sky opened up. It opened up and Lee was asleep in the back seat and he was dreaming of his wedding and then he was gone.
That was four years ago.
And it is pouring here and I am crying and drinking a beer (an Old Speckled Hen, one of Lee's favorite in the last three months we lived together) and remembering and had I not ever known Lee I would not have gotten the call I feared most and Marianna would not have taken me to the airport to bury my best friend and a bit of me, too, and then I wouldn't have been so alone and she would not have been there for me and then it would all be different.
Lee was my best friend.
And he saw to it that when he left, I'd have another one.