Sunday, January 2, 2011

Three Amigos

For some reason, on New Year's Eve, I thought of my three best friends from high school. By all appearances I had many friends at that time, but in reality I only had a very few close friends, and even then I wouldn't say we were all that close. It is all relative.

The thing that struck me was that all three died before reaching the age of 35, and all three in alcohol or drug related circumstances. One died while we were still in high school. He was a person who had taught me a lot and done much to help me out of a shell I was in. He was drunk, and the guy whose car he was sitting on was drunk. That guy had just had a tiff with his girlfriend, hopped in the car and took off. He rounded a corner half a block away and Eddie flew off the trunk and landed on his head on the sidewalk. The driver didn't even know he was there most likely. A week in a coma, and he was gone.

Many people thought Eddie was a nut. He was very bright and sometimes misunderstood, and sometimes he was a nut. We got along and I was glad that he and I always seemed to have an understanding that is not that common. It made it easier to take the loss because I had no regrets in the course of the friendship.

His cousin, David, and I remained good friends, and David proved to be as loyal a friend as I had. He wrecked a car at about age 30, while driving drunk, and that was it. I was long out of Miami by then but tried to find him on my return when I was 35. I did regret losing touch over the years. He was a solid person with a big heart. He drank like I did, at least.

Then there was Marq. Yea, with a Q. Anyway, he was another really bright guy who did not fit the mold, but of all of us he seemed to have the best life skills, and seemed the most likely to be heading up a corporation or otherwise finding success. But Marq liked to live fast and on the edge. He was one to push the envelope. He was maybe 33 when he overdosed on drugs. I'm not sure if it was heroin but I think so. I found out about him when I returned to Miami as well. Keeping contact with him may or may not have been a good idea. It seemed we tended to lead each other closer to the edge.

I think it is just the way of the draw that one of them is not here remembering me instead of how it is. There were many times when it should have or could have been me, long before the last two lives ended. But I seemed to have a guardian angel or very good luck. I could feel it, and on more than one occasion I was stunned at how I'd survived some mishap that seemed sure to be my last.

All of us were riding a roller coaster from the time we were fifteen, and it kept going faster with more sudden turns and dips. I guess I managed to get off before the car I was in completely derailed and crashed. Since then it has still been a roller coaster ride. Maybe I didn't really get off but managed to cut the power to it and it has just been coasting to a stop. Must have been hauling ass for the inertia to have carried so far for so long. It still almost flew off the track a time or two, but nothing like it was during those twenty years of chaos.

I guess when I decided to change the course of things I thought maybe they'd have already straightened out their lives. It was weird to discover they hadn't lasted long enough for us to have that conversation.

This is not meant to be a sad and morbid thing, though it may sound that way. Things are what they are. I remembered them with a feeling that they'd be cheering me on saying "Don't give up". Silly as that sounds, that is how it felt. As much as the current battle has everything to do with not giving up, I appreciated it.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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