Tonight I saw something that changed my life.
And it wasn't a film. It was my life. Bear with me here.
While at school my best friend in the world (also known as the ex-girlfriend) told me that a friend had been in the hospital from the grade below me, or her grade. I heard his name and I thought: how tragic...how twisted. This doesn't make any sense to me. He was drunk and had fallen down some stairs in the middle of the night...no one woke up and saw until a few hours later. No one even heard whatever the last thing he said was.
He was a very nice kid; one of my ex's best friends in the world, a real nice guy she could trust and talk to. In this kind of world full of selfishness, I felt relieved the people around me had someone they felt they could trust. Trust is such a powerful thing to share.
Jesus, this is the kid that had a party where someone put a wheel of cheese in the dryer. A wheel of cheese...in the dryer.
This happened last Sunday. Over the course of the week the rumors spread and people entered into a bit of panic; we hear these terrible teenage tragedies and think but no, that can't...that wouldn't happen to us? It was an unreal slap in the face to see it hit home. An affluent town, inspired children with oppritunites, the whole future in their hands...one of them just dies? No senior Prom? No college life? You can argue that these aren't the most important things in life, I am still young, but even if you didn't enjoy them, you will never ever forget these instances.
He'd hit his head the doctors had to relieve swelling and operate on his brain. The surgery was heard to be a success and people rejoiced despite a said 2 week minimum coma. It seemed in the clear. It should end perfectly from here. But it doesn't and that's hard to digest. Shortly after he ended up with blood clots in his brain and a second surgery was done. I was told by a friend that, not many people know it but, he's going to be "braindead". No activity. His arm had raised one day randomly but there was nothing going on.
The next day the news got worse. His heart and kidneys were getting bad problems and it seemed like he'd be lost. This kid is too damn nice...why him?
And he did die. Around 1:30 in the morning on Saturday I was wandering the streets of the East Village, New York City with some friends. My oldest friend in the entire world called to tell me about the death. I've known him my whole life and never heard him cry, but through the speakers he was sobbing hysterically. My tremendous man of a friend, the hardest worker is brought to tears. He said he loved me. My friends and I found the nearest bar and drank all night, dancing to Elton John and singing Third Eye Blind. shit life is short...let's live.
But that wasn't what got me. Tonight I came home from school and few community college friends and ones still on vacation were around. At the high school there was a candlelight vigil on the football field, where he had played during high school. I saw the coaches and this flashed by me. Everyone stood in an awkward circle, bundled in gloves and jackets with shaking hands holding fire. His friends spoke in the middle, holding a large picture of a big smile on a young face. There was an Our Father. My ex told me that on his memory board for the wake there was a picture of him and I. I don't know how I'd forgotten there was.
People began to blow out the candles. His friends blew them out and them threw on the ground in the center of the field. Someone yelled "we love you Phat!" the nickname of the deceased. The candles bundled up in a big pile and everyone sat in a circle to shiver the cold, some hope their tears didn't become frozen to their face.
But that still isn't what got me. This will be hard to explain or comprehend fully; my friend Mark, a Ukranian living in my town who had a whole bunch of homes and issues with school, opened his wallet. Mark liked to bet with us, and he still does. We all like to bet. Sometimes people just owe money, and for one reason or another, Mark had owed the dead $10. Mark could be stingy with money so he opened his wallet looking down at $2 blowing in the wind. He leaned down and put the crumpled $1 bills under the candles. My friends and I wanted to laugh, but it wasn't the arena. What the hell did that mean?
We went back to my house to relax and talk before we went back to school. We talked about how messed up it was that you could die that young. We smoked a blunt. We smoked a bubbler. We talked, we thought.
Finally a rare silence was broken when someone asked Mark; man, what caused you to leave two dollars under some candles?
Mark said; "It was all I had on me...and I figured, shit, some stuffs more important than debt...at least I'm on my way to finally paying him back. Make up for the fact that I'll never actually get a chance to give it to him in person..."
A dead silence fell over the room. I was sitting there stunned at this theory...and who had said it.
And I just thought that for every momment I live from here on is a moment he didn't get. Live life. Tell people you love them. Don't get caught up in everything. Breathe.
Now exhale and live.