This week, the world lost a valuable contributor to it’s beauty and I lost someone who was in the simplest definition a best friend. In a more complex definition, he was my coworker, my gym partner, my conspirator, my champion, my platonic lover, my rival, my touchstone and my foundation. He was the devil on my shoulder masquerading as the voice of reason. He was the first person I thought of when I experienced something that made me laugh and the only person with whom I wanted to share an experience that made me cry.
We drifted in and out of each other’s daily lives depending on geographic proximity, always keeping in touch remotely when not physically near.
Years ago, we were on a bike ride through the winding neighborhood roads around the Arboretum, he was speeding around a corner on the wrong side of the road and a car nearly crushed him. The car’s horn getting louder as it approached and then trailing off as he drove by, I screamed to him “Jesus, do you have a death wish?” He then started signing off on all his emails and notes with “D.W.”. I followed by addressing his emails similarly and even calling him “Dee Dub” in person. I dropped that nickname the night he told me he seroconverted. I know he noticed.
On the day before my 30th birthday, he took me to Lucky Devil Tattoo Parlor to get my first tattoo. As my last defiantly reckless act of my twenties, I got a star on my stomach. He got a matching one. It connected us.
Tonight I found the volume of “The Little Prince” he gave me, I don’t think it was for a special occasion, it could have been. I remember he wrote something on the inside page, but couldn’t remember what, until I opened the cover and read:
The stars are beautiful, because of a flower that cannot be seen…
I have spent the night reading online anthologies, focusing on finding definition and meaning of that one line in the 24th chapter of this French fable, thinking it will unlock the mystery, but have no more insight than when I started. I don’t require catharsis. I know I loved Adam and I know he loved me.
He will never again be annoyed by rain, he will never again witness a breathtakingly vibrant sunset. He will never again experience love or longing or loss. That is what shocks me the most: his story is written. There is that second date next to his name and it’s only the past now. That’s the most difficult part to wrap my head around, that his story is written. That his thoughts and feelings and beliefs all have started to fade, if we like it or not, it’s the truth.
My vow to him is the same one I made to my father this past May and to all the great influencers of my life who have passed: That I will do great things every day. They may not be grand in scale, but I will do my part to leave this place better than how I found it. If that means I say “Good Morning” to one more person on my walk to work or I volunteer more or I don’t know what, I will do it. His, no anyone else’s contributions to who I have become will be squandered.
You rest now, Little Prince.
I’ll take it from here.