The Drowning Gull 1 - Page 75

Separation. With your mother, who cherished you and indulged your every desire, you saw Phantom of the Opera and David Gains quickly replaced Chip Zion in her heart. While he still had the lead, you must have gone to the show at least a dozen times. In your wallet, you even carried his picture, cut out from the playbill. When you died, did you have his picture in your pocket?

From middle school, I followed you to St. Francis Prep High School. And from there, I inadvertently followed you – you wanted to stay close to home and I wanted to play on the basketball team - to New York University. During my sophomore and junior years we roomed together in Hayden Hall. Those were the days you needed a television in the room so that you could watch Star Trek: The Next Generation. Captain Picard became your secret lover. So enthralled did you become with the show, that you actually spent money to attended a Star Trek convention. There you purchased your very own Treky uniform. Was it red or yellow? I can’t remember. I thought you were crazy. Sometimes I still do. You also collected the small Star Trek action figures which you displayed on your desk. Do you remember the time you forgot to tell me that my father had called? He came to visit me the following week, and jokingly stuck Picard upside down in a half empty bottle of beer. For weeks he reeked of alcohol and you swore you’d never forgive me. Did you?

Sadly, I can not specifically remember what your major was, but I’m certain it was some sort of science. Am I right? When anyone asked you what you were studying, you always replied, “pre-med.” More than anything, you wanted to be a doctor. On many occasions, I envied the clarity of your dream. It had so much more substance than mine. You wanted to heal the sick; I wanted to be free to endlessly travel the world and write a book. You knew exactly what you wanted, but en route to medical school you took a detour to Boston University for a Master’s Degree. Then you died.

Did you ever send out applications to med school? Every time I sit in a doctor’s office, I think of you. I wonder - if things had been different - would you have realized your dream? I am yet to realize mine.

You were, without a doubt, my best friend. But no one ever warned me that a best friend may not be there to celebrate milestones in my life-- like getting married, having a baby. I wish you were here to meet my son. You would have loved him and his curiosity.

Nor did anyone tell me that a best friend wouldn’t be there to hold me when sadness strikes and disappointment abounds. I have learned to live without you, but I still miss the friendship we shared-- the comfort of your presence.

I remember coming home from an extended trip abroad in my early twenties. Brimming with excitement and tales of adventure, I could not wait to share with you the photos I took and the stories I collected. While we flipped through my photo album, your mother walked into your bedroom, glanced at several pictures of India and exclaimed, “Wasn’t your mother worried while you were gone? How could she let you go? Anything could have happened to you?”

I didn’t know how to respond. Now, as a mother myself, I know the terror that must have lived in my mother’s heart while I was away. Your mother was right. Anything could have happened to me, and lots of things did-- but I survived.

You never went further way than Boston, and you were killed less than five miles from home in a car your older brother was driving. He was thrown from the car and suffered no more than a shoulder injury. It wasn’t fair.

Seventeen summers ago, I was living in Pennsylvania when my father called. It was the most difficult phone call he had ever made; the most painful I ever received. Upon hearing that you were dead, I sank to the floor and cried. My world collapsed. The person who always held me up, the person who always protected me and the only friend who was always there for me was gone. You had left me for good, but not without memories. You accompanied me through my childhood when I most needed a friend. And in doing so, you made me feel wanted.

Issue #1