Grief Without a TimetablePosted: March 22, 2016
Tonight I learned that a friend of mine passed away.
Not recently, no; it’s been nearly thirteen years.
When I was nineteen, I met a guy on the Internet. He was driving from Wisconsin to California. I talked him into detouring to Louisiana to pick me up and bring me with him. This was the 90s and we were teenagers; nothing bad could possibly happen. We were invincible.
Which makes what I read today all the more painful. He died in 2003 of sleep apnea, after falling and hitting his head.
We were invincible.
How many times has his spirit graced this blog?
I took a road trip to California with a guy I met on the internet days before. On the way home, his car died and we walked for miles in the middle of the night before a truck driver stopped to give us a ride. With a machete in my pants. Just in case, you know?
I walked three miles along I-10 an hour from El Paso with a machete in my pants at two in the morning because our car broke down (This was the one trip I didn’t make solo.). Who knows what could have happened instead of my first and only ride in an eighteen wheeler?
And dribs and drabs here and there in between.
Like when Mel at Stirrup Queens asked us who we’d like to call that we can’t just pick up the phone and call.
I would like to call the friend I met on mIRC about twelve years ago who took me on his road trip to California. It wasn’t until we were on our way back that I found out why I had to badger him so much to pick me up. He was planning on suicide, but changed his mind when I went. I received a wedding announcement from him almost a year after our trip with a picture of him and his wife, but that’s the last I’ve heard. I hope he’s doing well, and still beating his depression.
Mel and I had an email exchange about my comment, back then in 2011. I dug through my emails for twenty minutes tonight searching for it so I could tell her what I’d learned, with the context.
The whole reason I was determined to find him was my plan to write a memoir about our road trip. And now I have to write it. I have to do it right, and I have to do it well.
I’m sitting here on my brother-in-law’s couch writing this post, and Rammstein comes on: one of the bands in our massive CD playlist from the trip to California.
It’s just–I miss him so much more now that I know I can’t talk to him or send him a Facebook message. It’s so final. I cried for an hour. There’s a hole that I didn’t know was there before.
I’m missing the co-author of the machete in my pants story.