Wednesday, October 17, 2012
October. I Miss You.
Amidst all of the Fall fun- the pumpkin patches and changing leaves, hay rides and Halloween- October is always a weird month for me. Five years ago Hank and I lost one of our very best friends, and every year when that day rolls around I am right back there, sitting next to Hank as we got that call. It was one of those moments that stick out so vividly in my mind- it's still so real and sharp, and if I think too much about it, I can feel like I'm right back there, in our tiny apartment with the phone ringing, ringing. It was the kind of phone call where you can see the person's face change as the speaker on the other end tells them what they have to tell- the kind of phone call where you immediately know something is wrong.
I can still remember the day before when I saw Kendall at the library. We confirmed our plans for later that night, we hugged, and I told him I loved him. I didn't know everything that was going on in his life right then- all I knew was that he'd been acting weird and was starting to drift into a new circle. We still saw him regularly. He was our "little brother" and would eat dinner with us, pop over after school, run around the track with me at night- but things had become different that summer. New people and new interests pulled him away from our regular group of friends, but none of us really had a true grasp on what was going on. That next day after the library when the phone rang and Hank's Dad told us that he thought the boy he just got a call about was Kendall, it didn't seem real even though that moment is now one of the most real moments of my life. I can still feel that hollow feeling in my throat that traveled down, down all the way to the pit of my stomach, and sat there, heavy like a rock. It didn't seem right that our Kendall was just gone. He was one of the special ones, the kind of person that lit up rooms and had the most contagious smile. No way. Not him. For days I had a strange hope that he'd pop back up, knock on our door and say "hey guys, it's me, just kidding!" But of course that wouldn't happen.
There's so many spaces in our life that should have been filled by Kendall. Our wedding, the birth of Henry, a million hangouts with all of our friends. Shows. Trips to Phoenix. I think about him often and wonder what life would be like if he was still around. And this month he's especially on my mind. There's something about the crisp air that takes me back to those days following his death; something about that feeling of fall that reminds me of so much more than just a new season.
And so in October I think about him. I think about how sometimes people have things going on inside of their head that we can have no idea about, even though we think we know them so well. I think about life, and death, about Henry's birth and about being a parent. I think about everyone I love. I think about friends that have come and gone, and I think about the people I couldn't bear to lose. Growing up and growing old, and everything in between. And October reminds me of that. The good, the bad, and how truly, truly fragile it all is.
I don't really know why I'm writing about this today. I haven't written about it in a few years, and I sat down to write about my day and this came out instead. So then I went to Kendall's old band's Myspace and sat and smiled and listened to all of the songs we used to sing along to, and I laughed to myself remembering that same funny look he'd get every time they'd play that In My Eyes cover. Funny and serious and so intense. Life is weird isn't it? It's so, so shitty sometimes. But then it can be immeasurably beautiful. I still don't understand the whys and I know I never will, but I do know that if Kendall was here, he'd be trying to make everyone around him as happy as possible. That's just what he did. He took all those shitty parts of life and made them good, blue eyes twinkling with that smile on his face. 5 years, and I miss you friend.