I was just googling a few people from my past over the lunch hour, because, hell, why not? It could be construed as being a little invasive, perhaps a bit stalkerish, but it feeds that curiosity I am overcome with whenever I wonder what happened to that girl with the silver space boots or did that one guy really turn into a fundamentalist Christian and now has seven children like I heard he did?
One friend in particular pops into my head fairly often. When I first met him, he was an ex-junkie body piercer who was apprenticing as a tattoo artist. We were an unlikely match for a friendship, but we became close enough that we mumbled platonic I-love-yous over shots of Jose Cuervo one night after the last remaining party member had passed out in the pile of coats on top of a broken coat rack.
For various reasons - his reacquaintance with heroin, my moving out of the neighbourhood, and other life changes - our paths stopped crossing, but I never quit thinking of him. My heart has always warmed to remember him, and I have often hoped that we would run into each other again.
Today, I googled him for the first time in three or four years. The first link that came up lead to his obituary. He died in March of 2006, leaving two sons without a father.
My heart and my mind are trying to wrap themselves around this. Despite his vices and obvious personality defects, he was a vibrant person, and my mind cannot make sense of the fact that he died at 27. I can guess at the contributing factors that lead to his death, but that just makes it all the more saddening.
I am going to head to a pub where there is sure to be a warm and familiar face and raise a pint to my friend. I have known no one with quite his degree of character and passion before or since, and he changed me in subtle soul ways I cannot express.
Prost, my friend. I will miss you.