Hick is gone. And, I am sad. I never got to say goodbye to him.

That wasn’t his real name obviously. And, while it was *sometimes* an apt description for him, we never meant it in a disparaging way. We gave each other nicknames not long after we first met. Thrown together in the honors dorm (it didn’t stick) our first year at school, we quickly became friends. In many ways we were the unlikeliest of friends. Yet, we were inseparable for three years.

Hick was an Air Force brat and had lived all over the world.
GaNomie had been Amish. He partied like he was making up for lost time.
Limey was a Brit, although he was born and raised in the US.
Clueless was secretly a genius. He lost his car once as part of the act.
Spic was Dutch, had lived in Saudi Arabia and NY, but called PR home.
I was Nubby. I recall it differently, but they said I couldn’t catch a ball.

We played football. We played basketball. We went spelunking. We took fotos. We drank beer before liquor (never sicker) and liquor before beer (in the clear). We worked together in the dorm cafeteria for a semester (never work food service with a friend). We chased (and caught) co-eds together. We protested the wars. We played Risk and Euchre. We gave new definitions to obscure words like Mabby and Scroglings. We would call each other on the fone, blurt out “Penis”, and then hang up. (This became especially fun when it was known that someone had a guest in their room.) We had a raucous good time. We even sometimes studied.

We spent Spring Breaks together.

We moved off campus and rented a house together. We furnished it with furniture got on the cheap. We grocery shopped together (which didn’t work). We agreed to a schedule for maintenance and lawn care (ditto). We played loud music. We played Nintendo. We ate (a lot of) pizza. We only cleaned The Pit when we threw parties (hence the name). And, our parties were legendary. Everyone wanted to go to parties at The Pit. Kegs were emptied and bongs were exhausted (no one ever inhaled). The cops showed up several times. Amazingly, we never got busted. The Landlord showed up several times (how many people live here?). Amazingly, we never got busted. Those days were crazy and great and wild and only available for a limited time.

By the end of our college careers, we were each deep into our own lives. Class loads had become serious. Girlfriends had become serious. Interests outside the group had taken over. For various reasons (none negative), we had moved apart. It was as if we had burned the candle as brightly as possible and then the friendships had dimmed. Dim, but not extinguished, our friendships would persist however.

We graduated and went out in different directions into the world. Weddings brought most of us back together for a brief time.

Stories were told and memories exchanged. (That’s what weddings are for, right?) We had good times. We had missed each other. Grad school occupied some of us. Careers and family occupied others. We wished each other well…again. And then, years went by without a need or reason for contact.

And, now one of us is gone.

Hick took his own life ten days ago. He was alone at the end. He had gotten into trouble and he had been unable to get out of it. He took his own life.

None of us really knew about any of the trouble until after the fact. A couple of years can be a lifetime, I guess. A lot (of bad) can happen. News traveled through the network. We tracked each other down. Each of us asked a lot of questions. When the person takes their own life, though, the answers don’t come. And, sometimes, we don’t really want the answers anyway.

To his troubles, I can only say he was a different person during those fun days. That he took his own life is sad…sad for him…sad for all of us…sad for the curse of failed endeavors and unmet expectations. He was a better person than the record will show.

I am going to try to remember my friend only for those fun times…and not for the sadness of the end. I am going to keep the memories of him. He was my roommate. He was my Euchre partner. He was my drinking buddy. He was a friend that I lost. And, I hope he is in a better place.

Goodbye, Buddy.

Copyright (c) 2005 Jamoker. All rights reserved.