It’s been ten years since you died. Just over 10 years since I’ve seen you. Laughed with you. Listened to one of your stories. Shared one of mine. Danced til the wee hours of the morning. Waded under a water fall. Slung back beers. Played euchre. Stared at the stars. Went to poetry readings. Gave poetry readings. Saved monkeys. Dove with the fishes. Even when I was scared. You were there to help me though one of my biggest fears. You were one of my best friends.
I remember the last time we hung out, just you and me. We sat in the dimly light Italian place downtown. You wanted to take me out for a nice dinner since I had helped you unpack and decorate your new apartment all day. We were totally grunge-y from unpacking/cleaning etc. I remember helping you find the best wall for your huge poster of the T-tons, a place I had never been but was so important to you. I remember how we laughed and talked over dinner and you asked me who I’d date the next year. We joked about someone we knew.
The last time I saw you- hugged you goodbye- I remember thinking that you’d have a great time in Vietnam. The best time ever on the back of a bike, like M and I had done the year before. I thought the summer would go by and we’d be back at school orientation in the fall, laughing and sharing stories about our summers. Our adventures. And we’d start another year of memories. We had so much fun together. I did not think that hugging you on the street in Koh Phi Phi before I got into a tuk-tuk would be the last time I saw you. I can so vividly see your smile, the sun so bright and hot behind you. We laughed as we said good bye. See you soon.
Some memories are so vivid, I just have to channel them. It’s been awhile since I have, I must admit. The first year in Bangkok without you was difficult. There were many memories. Places. Songs. People. But more than that, there were many things I wanted to tell you because I knew you would laugh. There would be some inside joke only you would get and I’d think, I have to tell Adam that. And then I would remember that you weren’t there for me to tell. Highly Fire Danger.
In the world of international teaching people come and go. So missing you got easier. It was like you just went somewhere else to teach. There were friends to share stories and memories and laughter. And we did that a lot that first year. One of your friends came to visit and travel a bit and we immediately hit it off. I know that our connection was you and in bringing us together, we were able to really grieve you and remember you and the Adam we both knew separately. I know we were both so thankful for that.
Whenever I think of you I can only smile. Because whenever I was with you, we were smiling. You were making me laugh. There was so much happiness. You were hilarious. But you could be serious too. You could listen. You were a good friend.
I’m remembering you this week. And I’m thinking of you again after having not visited with you in my memory for far too long. It feels good to sit still in a quiet moment and remember so vividly. Like no time has passed at all. Now that I’m away from all the people we both knew, maybe it is easier. Easier to think you are just teaching in some other far off land, living life to the fullest. Like you did when we were in Bangkok.
I still miss you. I know that we would still be in touch. You would know about my life and I would know about yours, even though we wouldn’t be in the same place.
The memories will always remain. As do the connections with the beautiful people you brought into my life that I still remain in touch with today.
Thank you, old friend. For the laughter. And so many beautiful and FUN memories.