Hello My Cherished Otherbeasts!
(*Names have been changed to protect identities.)
"Ya, I think I remember hearing from some of my friends that he had died."
"How? When? Really?" I asked, incredulously.
"I can't really remember. I think it might have had something to do with a flesh eating bacteria, but that doesn't seem right." she responded, the chocolate-covered-kissed faerie freckles on her nose wrinkling in thought.
"Huh. Weird." I mused, a bit saddened.
I didn't give it much thought because we all know how the Rumor Mill works. Someone starts off with a broken toe and through several people later they're in a body cast. So I just made a mental note to check it out later.
"Your morals are all backward. You cry at Armageddon, and laugh at the Holocaust. You thought Steven Simpson* was cute. You thought you had a chance with Luke Goodson*. You like Cats, and you think you have a chance at being an actress. But you were kind of funny and sometimes smart."
It was then followed by a big, lopsided heart and the name, "John."
Right below that was a penciled-in box, the lines in coupon-dotted form fashion, with the words inside reading, "1 Just Kidding Point. Apply to any one of my above statements."
I stared at it a bit, chuckling to myself about what a mule he had been yet also being slightly amused at his sense of humor, when I remembered the conversation from the coffee house. I looked up and stared off into my wall. Could it be true? Was John actually dead? I walked over to my computer and sat down in front of it. I opened up Google and typed in his name. One of the first pages that came up was something old from AISD about scholastic achievement. He was, after all, our graduating class's Salutatorian. A girl, Robin Koester, had beat him out for the position of Valedictorian. I sort of felt this sense of odd relief wash over me for a few seconds because I hadn't found anything... before my eyes caught a headlining caption mentioning his name and "UT Remembers." A few more links down I found what confirmed it. An article, written back in 2004, by a student at UT... it read:
Daniel K. Lee*
(Daily Texan) (U-WIRE) AUSTIN, Texas -- Two weeks ago, a 20-year-old former University of Texas student participated in the [fraternity's] annual Fight Night. Five days later he was dead.
[John] developed a severe sore throat which was not seen by doctors before he was put in the ring, said his father[...]. When his son was hit in the nose during a fight, doctors told [his father] that the blow opened a blood line, allowing the bacteria from the infection in [John's] throat to travel to the spine, causing spinal meningitis, coma and eventually death.
"Forty-eight hours after the fight he was in a coma," ...
I stared at my screen. The words burning into my retinas.
It was true.
Granted it wasn't flesh eating bacteria, but it was true. My brain immediately began turning circles. "How strange. How odd. How weird."
I had, literally, just minutes ago, read the words of a now-deceased, former "frienemy" and (surprising the hell out of me) I was a little thrown off kilter. Words from beyond the grave.
"Should I feel something? Do I feel something? Do I feel sadness? I feel confused. Do I feel guilt? Should I have tried to make amends? Do I cry? That feels wrong. What do I feel? What do I do?"
I came to this conclusion: I feel sadness for his family, losing him to such a freak occurrence. I feel sadness for his life being cut a little too short. I feel remorse at never getting to really know him. Seeing as how I never really knew him however, I cannot truly grieve over his loss. I have no real reason to; but I can still mourn the loss of a human life - his life - John's life.
Here's my catharsis.
Life is so short. SO short. Someone I knew, someone my age... is dead. How is that even possible? Okay, yes, I know how it IS possible, but it just seems so strange. At any point in time, at any moment, someone you love/cherish/adore could be ripped from your fingers and out of this life. What I wouldn't give to discover the secrets of immortality... but that's how life is. Life is life. It deals us a hand and we can either play it or fold. Well, I suppose life is more like "Go Fish," you play for a while... and then you run out of cards. Either way, its entirely too short to take for granted the people in your life. If you love someone, tell them... don't wait. If you want to get to know someone, then do it. If you cherish your friendships, make an effort to keep them alive. If you value your own life, then take care of yourself.
To all of my friends and loved ones... I love you. I cherish you. I think you are the best thing since sliced bread. I'm not always around all the time because life is life, but always know that I cherish our relationships. Each one of you.
To everyone else: "What I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that though I do not know you and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you."
Live for today.
Until Next Time,