I told myself I would always remember that day. I mean, how could I ever forget? It was my birthday, also the day one of my best friends died.
Birthdays aren’t usually a big thing for me, no huge parties, no raving music, no huge quantities of alcohol, just time I share with friends. Whats so special about them is that during this time we’re the real version of ourselves, having no expectations, passing no judgements.
We were all gathered around a big table in my parent’s living room, sharing stories when Bebe came in and discretely asked me to step out for a bit. I could tell it was serious, his expression being so unfamiliarly blank.
Out it the back yard, the sun had already set. He took few more steps, placed his hand on my shoulder and said: “I have some bad news”. A few tears fell on the concrete floor moments later.
Cristi was a wonderful guy. I remember laughing uncontrollably with him for what seemed hours at a time. I remember his drive and passion that inspired me when everything was going south. I remember getting so wasted after we a beer drinking contest together. I remember how he stubbornly refused to go to the hospital after being stung by a bee and swelled up so much he could hardly talk. I remember how we sometimes fought … about every, stupid, thing. I remember seeing him less often. I remember life tearing us apart.
At that time, I felt guilt. Guilt for not seeing him as often as I could, for not being there. I felt rage. Rage because life’s not fair. Because shit like this isn’t supposed to happen. And lastly I felt pain. Pain because it’s incredibly hard to accept that someone’s gone forever.
The hardest part was seeing his mother and sister at the funeral. I was wearing my black sunglasses so no one could see me cry. I will never forget the sound that wooden cross made as it was stuck in the dirt. It haunts me till this very day.
With each passing year the memory of those days fades a bit more. I stopped going to his grave a few years back… it felt pointless. He’s not there anymore.
It’s been 9 years, and today I almost forgot …
Nine years ago, on the 9th of September, one of my best friends died.
I still remember his smile.
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