So it is. So I am. I have to do this alone. It’s okay. Everything will be better, some day. Closure is probably not a conceivable goal. But successful management of my feelings–of all these fucking feelings–is. I thought I liked having feels and owning them and expressing them and sharing them. Now I remember why I was so cynical and tied up to begin with. Walled off.
It’s so much work. I don’t wanna.
I know, Richard, and I don’t wanna.
I’m going to catalog you now. I’m cut up all over and just rolling around in the salt hills. Frolicking.
-First time we met, San Salvador airport. I knew who you were, but you didn’t know me. You looked so cool and confident and I thought immediately of my friend Jao. You thought I was a student, “hey, how are you”
-In Guate-Rica (the term you coined), you took lots of pictures and I welcomed you to the back of the bus. “Welcome to the back of the bus, Richard, where all the super cool party people hang out.” You invited me on walks through Antigua. You ate a lot of good food. I was impressed by your curiosity and sense of adventure. You were easy to talk to and funny. You didn’t think your English was very good, but I did.
-When we returned to the U.S., I didn’t know how it would be. If we would be real friends. I was excited to see you at Lily’s birthday party.
-The AWB social at Hannah’s, you came late with pizza and everyone was so excited to see you.
-Hannah’s party. You came from TSA. I gave you a ride home and you left that orange in my car. I ate it.
-You planned that dinner at Golden Harbor and I was so impressed. I was irritated for some reason with the rest of the world, but not with you. I didn’t want to let you down. You love your culture and miss your home daily, that much is obvious. Always. Later that night we went to Murph’s and you were a Guatemalan princess. You got drunk at my apartment and passed out on the floor. I brought you a blanket. The next day, we went to Am-Ko because you needed soy sauce and we joked about all the foods. I took you home. You encouraged me to learn Mandarin. I didn’t. I can’t.
-The next week, we went to Ofelia’s Murphy’s mixer. We had sandwiches and beers. You managed to meet all of my friends. The next day, we had dinner at Maize with Daphne. It was Valentine’s Day. This was not significant to us. You were beginning to annoy me with your study abroad advisee questions. (Richard, this is not work. Richard, I will answer your email tomorrow, when I am at work.). But I never stopped being your friend, or valuing your friendship.
-You gave your Taiwan presentation in Turner with Lily and we had pho, walking in the snow. You gave your Taiwan presentation and then we had dinner at Lily’s. Her goodbye. I helped you with your scholarship essays. I’m still upset you didn’t get it. That was February. We ran together at CRCE. We snapped. We spent time together in 122 Mumford. Sometimes working, discussing Brazil. Discussing the Netherlands. Discussing Crop Sci. Most of the time, not.
-In March we went to Joe’s and had burgers and stopped running, but we did go to Dairy Queen and I took you to One North in Max’s car. On Unofficial. You didn’t know the exact location of your friend’s apartment and we cruised around the parking lot aimlessly. Typical, RiRi.
(I feel like I’m wearing a dark halo of grief. A shadow.)
What else did we do in March?
You went to Seattle/Vancouver.
Mom’s weekend and the Flower Show. I think that was April. You were tired all the time. So busy. What about that TA you taught? When was that?
-I walked across the South Quad in the dark and met you in the Stock Pavilion. I ate my apple, and we said, “pees out.” You tried to give me Hort Club alcohol–I wouldn’t take it.
-Dinner–corn party at Maize. We spent the entire time snapping Fuqua and we had the flautas. It was fun. There was that promise that summer was coming. I walked home. I was running again. You were going to take the bus. We always said, “fat.” Cause we ate so much. Cause we were always hungry. Cause we were always in the pursuit of food.
-There were times in the library. When I was applying for jobs and Max and Ofelia were studying and you met us in Main and checked in on me. We walked out together. So busy, but you made time for the people you cared about, always.
-Study party (NFANB. That didn’t happen.)
April, you were too busy…but we went to Hannah’s once. (“How hot do I look?” Return of the fern.)
Chicago, TSA, I couldn’t run the half marathon with you. I never got my rum tank. Where’s your rum tank?
You gave me extra bubble tea and chicken on a stick and I didn’t have to wait in line. I gave you extra money for my tickets cause you didn’t have change. You didn’t want to accept it. “It’s a tip,” I said. It got dark and we cleaned up and it got cold but we stayed. You charged your phone outside. I never even knew there were outlets there, on the plaza. On the quad. We danced. We bounced on the balls of our feet. We tried to make plans for later, but then it was late and I was too tired.
You missed dinner at Mosbah’s with us.
And then it was May.
And then we had our last time.
I can’t believe that was it.
I should have known. I think I did know.
I always know.
Sometimes I read your blog and I am reminded of you. Of the things you cared about. The world you saw. The world you cared about. Your world was bigger than mine. Your world had more purpose and more direction than mine. More ambition. I don’t want that world to cease existing because it was a good one. I’m sure there are others like it, but some things are hard to duplicate.
It’s such a short list, Richard. The time went so quickly. The months jumbled together and sped by. And now you’re not here. There are no more months for you. We will never be together again. These moments will have to last me a lifetime…the rest of my life. They’re not enough. Too shallow. Too used. Worn already and it’s only been 10 days. I am too depressed to sigh about it, Richard. Resigned.
You supported me. You believed in me. You loved me. You were the best Richard that ever lived.