Missing my old best friend

From left to right; Morgan, Aaron, Patrick, Christy, Oliver.

I didn’t want to write something about my friend, Aaron, but I couldn’t stop thinking about his death. I didn’t want my thoughts to be about my feelings, because I felt it would betray his voice and his power in doing so, but in the end writing about my feelings is all I can do.

It was a long time ago I knew him. We were kids embarking on a destiny full of sorrow and hope, pain and grand ambitions. We brought such sinful things into our bodies and minds. We bent our souls and bled our hearts. We were seventeen-year-old grownups acting like the wise leaders of tomorrow. We listened to Motorhead, Dead Kennedys, Lead Belly and Muddy Waters. We kayaked in the bay. We ate vegetarian pita pockets at Tilly Gort’s and devised ways to cheat at cards. We played 221B Baker Street like maniacs, cruised the Monterey Peninsula in search of decent cold cut sandwiches, rented Nintendo games, and watched Evil Dead 2 over and over again.

Now there are beer guts and children, debt and divorces, and many from our generation want nothing more than to blink and make it all go away. Maybe we were supposed to be wiser at this age, but we got lost as hell somewhere between 1992 and 2016.

Comic I devised featuring me and Aaron on earth-shaking adventures.

Happiness fades under the pummeling fist of real life and blistering adulthood, but it glows still in our souls, like the burning embers of a distant bonfire. And I haven’t been able to think about the loss of my old best friend. I go through my days pretending Wendy never called me, pretending I never read the Facebook post that his body was found. And I still haven’t read his obituary.

I’ve told people it was a long time ago that I hung out with him. I’ve been careful to avoid anything related to his death. I cannot bring myself to think of his children. I knew him when he was a child. I knew him when he thought he had the biggest muscles in our group. I knew him when we wore boxing gloves and punched each other in the face like a couple of dumbasses. I knew him when our afternoons were spent at Stonehenge near Lovers Point. We’d break open mussels and feed them to passing sea otters.

To me Air is still missing. He’s in Canada somewhere, working at a comic shop and talking about playing Spades to whoever will listen. Maybe he got a job on a merchant vessel and he’s rounding the bend into a Japanese port with a beard like Grizzly Adams. Maybe he’s taken an oath of silence on a remote mountain top just beyond human civilization. He’s somewhere doing just that. That’s what I want to think.

I used to imagine my mom was still alive like that. It made it easier to think of her hiding out in New York somewhere, working at a law office and presiding over a book club in the evenings, than to think of her as being nowhere. Reality took us for a ride and eventually we crashed.

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7 thoughts on “Missing my old best friend

  1. Man. Suicide sucks. Sadly, I know the feeling (that empty feeling, all those unanswered questions) too well. My heart goes out to you and to his family. sigh.

  2. Patrick I’ve been crying for three days. This is my second round of unending tears. I feel like I’ve lost more than just aaron. Keeping in touch with him over the years keep those times alive. Thank you for writing this. You can do something I can’t do is say so well.

  3. I also wish I had connected with Aaron more in adult life. It’s especially ironic since we lived in the same town for years. I think I always felt there was plenty of time for a re-kindling of our friendship to happen. I had no idea Aaron struggled with depression. I was fortunate to be able to go to his memorial and discovered what a great guy he still was as a grown man. Generous, funny, a sweet dad and husband. I look back at the time we were all friends hanging out at Lovers Point, wandering the streets of PG and feel such bittersweet sadness. We were so hopeful then. So certain our futures held great things.

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