I wrote this article for A Picture Worth 1000 Words the day before I wrote the entry here at this blog entitled " The HP on Death ".
Just recently I lost a friend. As a matter of fact, a large percentage of those who offer up comments and content over at A Picture Worth 1000 all lost a friend. I took a few moments after visiting the funeral parlor to pen down my thoughts of death in general.
It seems I write about death a lot, either in a romantic or frustrating sense as myself or in a violent and fantasy world in collaboration with my nom de plume, Hilton Stiles. But this picture evokes in me a memory of another death – one that shattered my heart and made me grow up all in a moment.
My best pal Randy and I had a great love for the outdoors, and the Cape Fear River in general. Along with other friends we would camp at some cabins up between Lillington and Fuquay Varina, and fish all night, and drink all day and night. We sand songs, some of us better than others, we cooked bream fresh from the water, we ate pickled eggs, told off color jokes, and just generally do the things that guys do.
We never thought it would end. See that’s the point – the day you realize that yes, it can end, and yes, as a fact it WILL end, that’s when you lose your innocence. It’s not the first time you cop a feel, or even when you got laid in a heart wreckingly embarrassing encounter, nor is it the first time you see your parents for people and not Gods – it’s that moment, that clear understanding that no matter what the indoctrination or lesson, time ends for all men.
Losing my best friend at the age of 24 was devastating – it pretty much made me address questions I had always held quiet, except now out load and in front of the world. I questioned the idea of a Loving God, when one so young and good would be taken. I questioned the logic of a conservative lifestyle, saving frugally for a retirement that one might die 30 years before reaching. It just made me question.
And so angry. Damn I was angry at the world. And depressed, and out of control mentally. I did harmful things to my body; I begged ineffectively to a God I eventually come to realize did not exist to fix it all and make it back the way it was.
Now, more than 10 years later it is hard to address, or even try to mentally recreate that anger and loneliness.
But you know what I can still do? I can still go to the River and smell bacon cooking. And I can remember how when he had just enough to drink to feel tipsy he would take out his contacts and put on his glasses. And I can sit on the porch and listen to a bluegrass CD and know for a fact that he could play that song.
It’s the good things I still have, you see. It’s like the River takes the bad away, and with it flows away the anger, and the hurt. I’m almost afraid to know just how many broken hearts and lonely friend have spilled tears into that River over the hundreds of years – maybe that is why the seas are salty – the tears from those left behind washing out to the oceans.
He would have liked that thought. He always said I had a hell of a way with words.
I miss my buddy.