His name was Glynn. He had been one of my best high school friends. Yesterday he died. How could he do this to me? For decades I had contemplated finding the time to reach out to him (we live thousands of miles away) to share our memories of riding my old motor scooter, putting loud mufflers on my old sedan, going to drag races, sitting for hours thumbing through hotrod magazines and spending every spare hour at Dave’s Cycle Shop, a little shack that sold British motorcycles, sharing a coke while we pretended we were contemplating buying one of the bikes. Yes, we were aware of girls, but motorcycles and cars were more important. And now he’s gone.
He and I were glued together: find one of us and there was the other. Once we had fun designing a 14-foot fishing boat to hold a V-8 engine, being completely oblivious to weight and torque and other issues in boat design. We had found a cheap aluminum boat for sale and a scrap yard had an old V-8 engine. To us, it was a simple issue. Fortunately for our lives, we never mated the two. Still, I find joy in reliving that innocence, and our hand-drawn plans would be a treasure now to have. And now he’s gone.
My inner feeling is predictable. Why the wait? Why had I never contacted him? He was my friend. Many evenings I had sat with him and his family to watch TV, often sharing dinner with them (and washing the dishes). I was family, family to the degree that his older sisters felt comfortable walking semi-dressed around the house in my presence. That was an early lesson to me in trust and family. I learned a lot from that. No family had ever accepted me so totally. And now he’s gone.
So, why did I not ever contact him? I can argue that he had no email address (yet he had a mailing address). He hadn’t written first, so maybe he didn’t want to hear from me? Many years had passed, so maybe he had forgotten me? All these thoughts to keep me from reaching out to him, and none of them with any validity. He is now gone forever; I can never tell him how much he meant to me, that I had always loved his family, had always felt a sense of caring and love when in his parents’ home. That opportunity is now lost to me. We think our friends and loved ones will always be with us, will always be there for when we decide to contact them, but death finds us all. I thought Glynn would live forever. Forever has come.