I imagine a million stories being told, heavy with sincerity and drawing out tears that were never envisioned needing to be shed. I see people laughing, remembering, finally comprehending the complexity that one soul can hold.
My stories of you are simple. They’re made up of 3 am conversations about nothing and everything, Dave Matthews crooning in the background; stolen cigarettes and missing slices of pizza; poring over YouTube to check in on Clay Aiken and Rueben Studdard; Christmas time visits to the grocery for peel-and-eat shrimp and watching “Love Actually” upon your suggestion; anecdotes about cats wearing hats and being a “nut job;” countless songs resonating throughout the house that were labored over and perfected, yet never enough for you.
I remember yours being the first face I saw on a snowy day in D.C. to watch the old band play in a Synagogue—eyes soft and breath laced with beer. I remember you wearing your uniform of a transparent white top, dark jeans, laced boots and a felt hat, sitting high atop a black bike. I remember you wearing nothing but a towel around the house, paying no mind to your female housemate. I remember standing around a hot bonfire, you burning holes through the soles of your shoes, divulging your feelings about girls and insufficiency. I remember you excitedly telling me about the 8-pound box of Chinese food you snuck from Harris Teeter after I explained to you that anything is free if you learn how to take it.
We didn’t share as many moments as others had, but I took notice of the ones we did. You were an infinite man, as if the universe had imprinted you with the energy to pull others in and make them remember, make them acknowledge that something was different and should be held onto.
I’m sorry for the time you left the front porch and I took a sip of your gin, which I never told you about until just now. I’m sorry I forgot to buy paper towels the day I promised I would, to which you pursed your lips and walked out of the room. I’m sorry I bought you a kitten that you learned to love, only to lose shortly after. I’m sorry I hadn’t come into your room to talk as often as I could have.
But of all the memories, my favorite is this: Preston was gone on tour, and after Cole shut the front door on his way to work, you burst into my room and said, “They’re gone. Let’s fuck!”
A million stories will be told about you for the rest of our lives, and the best story of them all will be that you truly lived, and that we knew you while you did.