I found out yesterday that a friend from my High School days recently committed suicide. I don’t know the whys and hows (and I’m not sure I want to). I’ve not seen or talked to him in over 15 years, but it’s still pulling at my heart. We didn’t have a deep friendship, more of a “good buddy” mentality; it was just easy with him.
He had the cutest dimples when he smiled. I enjoyed watching him play street hockey with his friends because it lifted the sense of self-consciousness that seemed to weigh him down. At the time, he was the same height as I was but then when I ran into him a few years later, somehow he had shot up to over 6 ft! suddenly I had to look up to talk to him, how did that happen?! He friended me on Facebook when my kids were small. It was odd to see pictures of him as a man but still be able to see the boy inside, by the way he stood with his long lanky leg slightly turned in. and the dimples, they were still there too. All I really did on Facebook at that time was decompress by taking silly quizzes, and he only seemed to talk about sports, so I eventually lumped him in with “old acquaintances” that I unfriended when I did a grand sweep a few years back.
My favorite memory of him took place during my senior year of High School. The older students were let out of school a week early if their grades were up to par (as mine were). During a conversation the day before, he asked me what I was going to do with my new found freedom, while he was left suffering at school. I told him I needed to go into town early for a job interview. He teasingly said that I should get him food from McDonalds and bring it to him for lunch. I did just that and he was so shocked! I remember the look on his face, how it went from dumbfounded to elated in seconds. I received a hug for that good deed. and that was the last time I was ever really with him. We bumped into each other in passing once or twice over the next few years, and there was a phone call somewhere in there too but we drifted apart rather quickly. we had different friends, different responsibilities. life took us in different directions.
In my mind I had already said good-bye to the boy that I used to know, had never really gotten to know the man. I would think of him sometimes, wondering how things had turned out for him. In the few photographs I have of him he’s smiling, with his sweet boyish dimples. That’s how I’ll always remember him.
The closing monologue from the movie Stand By Me keeps running through my head:
It happens sometimes. friends come in and out of our lives like busboys in a restaurant. […] Although I hadn’t seen him for more than 10 years, I know I’ll miss him forever.