Elementary days colored in sunshine, filled in its rosy shades. We were just two kids, you and I, running around the playground. Playing tag and soccer and more so often, sitting underneath our favorite tree in the graveyard, picking the wildflowers that grew around the cracked exterior of the headstones. We were just kids, inductees into this crazy role of life. It had just begun for us. Two young kids laying underneath the shade of elders, cozy in the resting place of those much older than we.
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road.
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go.
In middle school you fell for me. And to this day, I am not sure whether that was good or bad. But we filled our days in classrooms of Catholic Schools, passing notes and mix CDs, filled with Green Day songs. Sneaking into PG-13 movies and playing guitar at your house. You were honestly one of the closest friends I’ve ever had because everything felt so natural with you. I remember my father driving me home from swim practice, American Idiot blaring from the radio. I still have that CD to this day.
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time.
In eighth grade, you began missing school quite often and I found myself lost amongst the crowd. I had no one to sit with during lunch. No one to entertain me during Math and Reading. You said you had the stomach flu. How I wish that was so. A month later I received a phone call from your mother, informing me that you had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. My end of the phone was quiet, and she waited for a reaction, but all I could do was fall to the floor. Shocked. My dad caught me and answered the phone. She told him everything. I silently got up and walked to my room without a word. And so I laid in my bed that entire weekend, no emotion, just this terrible numbness freezing my veins and paralyzing my mind. Now that I think about it, that numbness never did leave.
So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
I didn’t see you for an entire year. You practically lived in Kansas City. You practically lived in that hospital. And the thought of you, confined in those four gray walls, assembled with wires and tubes, killed me. Because that wasn’t how you wanted to live. Every night I prayed for you and every night I cried. I begged for it to be me, because you did not deserve it. And when you came back to school, you came back with a victory and I was so happy to see you. But something had changed. You were not yourself and you didn’t want anything to do with me. Your parents told me it was natural for behavioral changes in your condition, going through as many surgeries as you had. I just wanted my friend back.
Three years later that ******* returned, trying to claim your life once again. And this time, it won. It succeed and I had to do something that horrified me for the past 4 years. I perfected my stoic facade. And I sat in the back row at your funeral. But then Mrs. Durbin, our Social Studies teacher, sat next to me. Embraced me, weeping, saying how sorry she was that I lost my childhood friend. And then your father came up to me and hugged me. He asked me how I was and I said “okay” because it would hurt too much to say the truth. But then he held me at arms length and looked into my eyes and knew. I crumbled, breaking the emotionless mask I had been hiding behind, and he held me as I sobbed.
Tattoos and memories and dead skin on trial
through what it’s worth, it was worth all the while
That night, I had laid to rest one of my own. My childhood friend. My brother. And as you would like to know, they played your favorite songs, ranging from the Ramones to Green Day and I couldn’t help but to smile. I’m not a religious person, but because of you, I hope there is an afterlife. So hopefully I will be able to see you again.
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end that’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.