This is good stuff that you need to know,
I’ve been writing it all in my head for a while.
But ever since we went toe to toe,
There are things that I now have to reconcile.
I recall a camel-hair trench coat, green knit gloves and unfamiliar but smiling people. It was 1988.
I remember papers wind-strewn in a high school parking lot, oil and grit smudging the corners of awful artwork and poetry. (I hope I thanked you for the ride home after missing the bus on my first day at a new school).
It was good to have met you in those formative years. It was nothing magical, we just became friends and I needed one more than I could have known.
I learned that a friend will nod patiently to interminable tales of obsession and unrequited love. (You poor *******. I thank you for this, if I never did before.)
I learned that a friend will patiently read your hack teenage poetry, advising sparingly.
(Thanks for that, too.)
I learned that someone might potentially be able to crash only “my side of the car”.
( I’m grateful that this "nuclear option" was never invoked!)
I learned about music bands that would become the soundtrack for the best years in my young life.
(I still listen to pretty much anything by xtc, over 25 years later.)
I learned that a cast iron skillet may very well shatter if dropped onto concrete.
I learned that the best cornbread is a simple recipe and that you must pre-heat the pan.
(My wife insists that I prepare it anytime we make chili.)
1989, our senior year of high school… I remember an overnight bike tour I took of our hometown. On a whim, I stopped by your house at 1AM. Unable to knock, I opted instead to get your attention by tapping at the window when I noticed you were awake and playing a computer game. ( sorry for the scare… )
I remember sitting, spellbound, to see “A Tour of Heaven and Hell” at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
(The first inspiration in a longer journey that would later have me working with it’s creator on five new shows.)
In college, I remember “our little ant farm”, the apartments across from our rental house on Milburn Avenue in Athens.
I remember climbing onto the roof to lounge, take photos and, of course, leap off.
(Thanks for a Pulitzer-worthy freeze frame of my youth in flight)
For that matter, thanks for some great camping excursions, a cast-iron pan cooking potatoes and, what- onion? on the fire.
This is how I come to realize: The darkness cannot outshine the light, since life will always throw reminders my way that when we were young, you were important to me. I can not discard, too easily, that which is already an indelible part of me.
This is for a friend. We once parted ways on cold terms and this is me placing a pylon in time, a memorial and reminder that time is a continuum; that people are multi-faceted and ever-changing.
It speaks of very real and specific things that transpired between us, mundane bits of “rememborabilia” that I felt compelled to reflect on and then reflect back for them to read, which they have.
It is my heartfelt desire that love prevail over bitterness, that forgiveness prevail over shadow and pain.
The title misspelling is intentional and reflects my friend’s abysmal skill at spelling. I received a note, for example, with that very spelling of “tragedy”. This, with all respect and fondness for the friendship formed whenever we both would occupy it.