The last 4 days have been somewhat of an emotional whirlwind, with some very happy times intertwined with loss.
Last Friday I received very troubling news that a good friend of mine, Andrew, passed away. He was in a car accident sometime on Thursday evening. Andrew was 25 years old. I was shocked and my mind, simply, could not process the information. I broke down a few hours later when I thought of Andrew’s parents having return home and leave their son’s youthful, lifeless, body behind. The idea of their journey, without Andrew, was unfathomable for me to imagine and, at this point, I haven’t even began to think of my journey without him. Thank you, Beau, for being their to console me during this time. With all of our quirks aside, you are one friend that I never want to be apart from. I truly appreciate you and, with Andrew as the catalyst, I see how short life can be and how thankful I need to be for my loved ones.
In the mist of my emotional rape, Vanessa arrived. Vanessa and I planned a New Orleans get-a-way to celebrate her birthday… and well, she came at a very good time. A distraction.
We started the night with a Georges dance party. Epic, could be the word that described it. We closed out the bar then headed back to my house, which turn into a 3 hour ‘love gush’ with topics ranging from Andrew to turning 30. The night was perfect and we still had New Orleans to look forward to. So, fast forward 10 hours and there we were, New Orleans.
New Orleans has always accepted me with open arms. It may be because every time I enter the city, I pay it some respect by saying, “New Orleans, here I am. Protect me and help me flow with your energy.” It sounds cheesy, but it works. Over the last two years I’ve been searching for my city, which has taught me a few things. Firstly, to treat cities like living people. To me, they have emotions and boundaries. Cities are, also, capable of feeling love and aborting certain people. So, I always try to give any city a “shout out” before and after entry. I’ve also learned, it’s best to never make plans when entering a potential future residence. The city will show you what it wants you to see and in New Orleans, I’m never disappointed. This weekend was no different. I was lead to a new area, Frenchman street.
Hipsters (more like youthful homeless), which can’t afford vehicles, or apartments but always fit PBR into their budgets… So what.. Who cares? They don’t bathe, fine. One thing they do, and do well, is play music. I absolutely love the music you can hear around every turn. It captures all my thoughts and turns my body into a human-like robot that just walks through the street, while my mind and heart are being taken on a journey throughout the world. Perfect, would describe this moment.
Hunger, is what described the next. Around 7:30 pm, on Saturday, Vanessa and I were famished and consumed a great sandwich on Frenchman street, while enjoying the encapsulating sounds of the homeless.
It’s me, Andrew
“Okay, I’m ready.”
One of Vanessa’s many beautiful attributes, is her awarness of people’s emotional needs. Within 30 seconds of my initial thought, she asked for me to talk about Andrew. Here’s what I said:
I’m really sad but mainly angry. I feel so cheap. I get mad because Andrew was such a great person and being taken out of this world by a dumb car accident pisses me off. I know everyone isn’t going to have a monumental death, with loved ones surrounding their bedside and the person imparting last words of wisdom, but fuck, Andrew deserved better. What was his last meal? Subway for lunch, this is so stupid.
At this point Vanessa realized that I needed to get that anger out, but wanted to help me get it under control. She then asked me what my friendship Andrew meant to me.
I remember the first day I met Andrew. I was his supervisor at the law firm and within 10 minutes of meeting him, he walked into my office and sat on my desk and said, “Soooo you’re gay, how long have you been out?” Initially, I was stunned and thought he was very unprofessional, but that thought left as quickly as it entered. In efforts to keep some sort of professional boundry, I said “No one knows!”. He smiled and said, “Okay, we can talk about it later”, smiled then left my office. I knew immediately we would be friends.
From that point forward, it was us against the rest of the law firm. I would sit in the administrative meetings, then report back all the juicy (actually really boring corporate) gossip. In some ways I was working for him. Ha. I didn’t care.
Andrew was their for my first professional job, me coming out the closet, my first boyfriend and so many more of my firsts. He was one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. Some days I would come into work and ask him, “why are you so fucking happy all the time?”. Of course, he would smile, make some funny statement, and go on about his day. He was passionate. Very passionate. One of the best workers to ever work for me, and a great friend.
A interesting thing about my friendship with Andrew, is that I knew it wouldn’t last forever. I recognized that there are people that come into my life to stay, and some that are just passing through. There was something about my relationship with Andrew, that made me know we would fall into the last category, but I didn’t care. I was thankful for it, because I appreciated him from the inception of our relationship. Sometimes it takes people years to fully appreciate a friend. I started the day he busted into my office and sat on my desk. I met and lost Andrew in the intersection of our lives, and I loved every minute of him.
Phew, that felt great. There we were, Vanessa and I, gushing about how great Andrew was, when a overpowering thought began to fill my mind. A thought of living my life. At one point during of our conversation, Vanessa told me, “When confronted with death, you need to live as hard as you can.” Wow. Just wow. Andrew lived his life as hard as he could; I think that’s why he was so happy all the time. Each day was a gift and he soaked up as many rays as possible. (Even the time he lied, and missed work because he was “sick”, when in reality he was at the beach! I wish he would have lied to me more.)
I read Andrew’s obituary this morning, and it said, “Andrew was an organ donor, who shared his life with five other individuals”. So not only did Andrew live his life as hard has he could, he gave 5 other people the chance to do the same. I hope these 5 individuals take that gift that Andrew gave them, and spread it like wildfire. Andrew, thank you for your beautiful soul and your ability to inspire me to live my life as hard as I can. I think it sucks that your gone, but you will not be forgotten.