Goodbye, Bobby

A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

Clock in Upper West Side, NYC
An old friend of mine passed last week.

He was the first person I ever met in college. Met him outside of the dorms queuing for one thing or another. He was from Virginia.

Never met an Asian kid from Virginia before. At that point, I’d never really been out of the City. Don’t think I’d even been to the Bronx or Staten Island yet.

We became pretty good friends through the years. Bombed my econ class because a group of us were playing cards late into the night.

Ended up going to the same law school, just at different times. We also ended up living in the same neighborhood so we constantly either met up or ran into each other.

But in 2001 we had an argument and stopped talking. It wasn’t a terrible argument, per se. Just the kind where both people’re irritated enough to stop talking for a while.

Your typical super-important argument about nuthin.

We met up a few years later at a wedding where I was a groomsman and he was the best men.

Me: Hey, your tie’s crooked. (fixing it)
Him: Ah, thanks. I was worried it’d be weird between us.

We sat at the same table, and were pleasant. We said we’d reconnect again but never got around to it.

That’s the thing with old ghosts; you always run into them in the big City. Figured I’d just run into him again one day, like I do the rest of the world. And we’d be cool again.

But I never did. Now, I never will.

Every time someone dies, I think of that Thomas Mann quote, A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

Right now, I’m on an email list filled with names I’ve not seen in years.

Some people are heading down to the funeral, some are sending flowers. My friends and I are sending an arrangement.

Can’t really imagine what his parents are going through. Don’t want to. When I heard he died, after the initial shock wore off, I thought of my own parents. I’d never want them to have to go through that.

What a thing to bear.

I wish I did actually give him a call. Or he gave me one. Or we did run into each other like people do here.

Life gets in the way. That is, until it gets out of the way.

I’ll add my not meeting up with him to my list of ten thousand regrets.

Goodbye, man. I’m so sorry to hear that you left us.

Me: Why would it be weird? We had an argument. People have arguments. We should meet up some time.
Him: Sure, that sounds good.

Location: in my head, back in college
Mood: sad
Music: Yesterday I got so old, it made me want to cry

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7 Replies to “Goodbye, Bobby”

  1. Sorry for your loss, Logan. I’ve been struggling with similar feelings, as I lost two dear people [who live in NY] since December. Having moved to France without the chance of visiting home (NYC), I’ve not had the opportunity to bump into people or make a date, so there was a lot of thoughts like “I wish I had written them” and so on. I’ve just never been the emailing type — I have to push myself more — especially being far away and all. Gosh, I want to visit NYC for a few months and just catch up with everyone.. No matter what age they are, you never know how long your friends will be on this earth.

    And, as people are busier and busier (and more and more distracted) in today’s society, I believe this is a problem we are all struggling with — so when people pass there is mucho regret and “I should have ‘s”. I mean, people miss out on raising their own children, let alone seeing their friends! Be well.

    1. I read this and your comment on FB together – I’m so sorry to hear all this. Homesickness is something I can understand. I’ve been away from home for a few months at a time here and there so I can’t imagine what it’s like for so long.

      Have you done any Skype videoconferencing? I know nothing can replace being somewhere but at least with that you can see a friend’s face and imagine they’re in front of you.

      As for the City itself, for better or worse, it will always be here for you when you’re ready/are able to come back. My dad left his home at 17 and didn’t return until he was well into his 30s. He wanted to go back but wanted to come back on his own terms. Hopefully you will be able to as well, soon.

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