A friend of mine passed away earlier this month.
I've been binge watching halt and catch fire.
These are two things that have largely shaped how I'm feeling right now. An amalgam of longing for the times in the past. A combination of the first time I ever flicked the switch on a computer and typed on a keyboard. A thirst for those moments in the past where my friend and I shared time. Shared air. Shared existence in this passage.
I still remember when he told me. It was a dinner we had planned as part of us catching back up and being more active in each other's lives again. He sat across from me and said he had something to tell me.
"You're pregnant" I guessed, with a smile on my face.
"Yes, he said, we're expecting! But that's not everything."
In my mind, now, a pause hangs over for a moment before he concludes.
"I have cancer."
The weight of that announcement attached to the joy and levity of the other. I feel my heart wrenching in my gut at the memory of it.
I have so many memories with him, and while our adult lives had us intersecting at a slower interval than high school and post high-school, we still kept in touch.
This is hard to write for many reasons. I find myself, at times, rendered completely still and useless by the thought of eternity and the implications of life. I find myself, now, rendered useless at the flood of memories of my friend and I. I'm back there all the time this week. I'm in the summer of 1999, 2000, 2001. I'm at his dining room table playing poker. I'm watching movies in his town home. I'm playing king of the dock with him and his brother. I'm listening to music with him. Getting high with him. I'm playing Risk, cards, lounging on the dock of his family cottage.
It's a stream of consciousness kind of remembering. It's coupled with the weight of the complete lack of possibility that now exists for our paths crossing again in this life.
I've been trying to process everything that is attached to what I'm feeling. Of course I have been. It hits hard that I won't ever get to contemplate life, the universe, and everything with Jacob. It hits hard that all I have now are memories, as fixed in time as our memories can be. It hits hard that another person who knew me, really knew me, is gone from this world. It underlines the importance of connections. For me, it underlines how easily I've gone through life from moment to moment not really holding on to much but memories of people.
I've been terrible at keeping in touch with all but a few of my friends. There's a whole other series of blog posts about that, but it hits me most in moments like this where my reliance on the belief that there will always be another time in the future where our paths could cross has a weakness. The weakness is that it isn't true.
Needless to say, I'm still processing. I'm still 'feeling'. I'm still writhing in the memories, and drowning in the lack of possible.
I miss him in this world, and it's tangible.
Watching Halt and Catch Fire has also made me nostalgic for the early days of technology. The thrill of spinning up a computer. The amazement of everything it brought into the home. All of it.
From Dos 5, 6, to Windows 3.11, to 32 Bit and Freecell, to Internet, to Mosaic browser, to .edu sites fueling video game fires, to Sierra games, to Muds and Mushes, to the world opening up more and more online. From what felt like the purity of the internet where it was populated mostly by enthusiasts to the present day when it's as cluttered as a newstand and presenting just as much trash into the world.
I'm grieving the loss of my friend, and I'm drowning that grief in the grieving of times gone by.
I miss you, Jacob. I'm glad our atoms got to cross paths and our minds got to ruminate under the stars together. I'm glad we got to contemplate our existence as we shared it.