Sunday, April 28, 2013

S*** I Should Have Said (& Some I Did)

Hi, Bud. I had a lot to tell you  before you passed that I didn't get to say to you. I did say one thing.

"I love you, Bud."

I didn't get to tell you that you were one of the first friends I had in Rochester, upon first meeting you, I thought you were a badass. I didn't get to say that watching you play Capoeira made me want to stick with it, if only to be better than you. The more I got to know you, I never got to tell you how funny I thought it was that you were always half a note off-key when you sang, nor how much I wanted to giggle my ass off when people would whine about that half-note variation. I didn't get a chance to tell you that our last game together was my favourite, or how exhilarated and confident I felt that you would beat this cancer, because NOBODY that sick can move like that.

"I love you, Bud."

We had a nice conversation about women and our likes one day, and when you described a near impossible, partially antithetical amalgam of traits, I just wanted to say, "Dude...", but I instead just said, "Good luck with that", and we finished our meals.

There were a few times you made me want to rip out my hair (if I had any) when you made a remark about something we should do, and then you'd do immediately do it. Each time,  I would be too damn stubborn to say that you were right. Only a few times, I would thank you for giving me public credit and thanks for doing all the work that you mostly did.

"I love you, Bud."

So when I heard you had leukemia, I didn't immediately call you. "Cancer? So what! He's Bud! Only old people die from cancer! Bud is a damn ox!" We threw some benefits for you, and I thought your biggest troubles would be medical bills, so it didn't dawn on me to promptly send you a well wish here & there. It wasn't until I saw your blog that shit might be getting serious.

I came down a few weekends ago, and you said you weren't feeling up for company. I told you I'd give you a call later in the weekend, but I was afraid for some reason. My co-pilot suggested I just show up at your door, but I didn't do that. Instead, I drove back home, losing it on the Jersey Turnpike because I thought I wouldn't see you again. I could have just sent you well wishes...6 fucking months ago...hopefully, the texts I sent you meant something.

"I love you, Bud."

I sent that text to you, and I said that I hated what you were going through. For crying out loud, you're almost 10 years younger than me! I should be the one getting cancer! I eat shitty foods and exercise way less than you! You sent back a text: "Thank you". I hope that meant you appreciated my sentiment. I hope that you were able to forgive my lack of communication while you were going through this hell. I should have known the pictures of pull ups in the hospital were a façade. I've seen people go through cancer treatments. I should have known better.

"I love you, Bud."

I was going to say that to your face. I came down this weekend specifically to say that, but I saw you and barely recognised you, and you were hardly able to hear or see me, and I was so happy that you even recognised me that I lost all train of thought and just babbled about small talk until you dozed off.

"I love you, Bud."

The day you passed, we came to your house, but you were having a hard time. Your brother said to come back in a few hours. So I went to a roda at Union Square, and I played with two mestres! It was so frightening/exhilarating, I was having the time of my life! For a few short minutes of play, I forgot why I came to NYC in the first place. We schlepped around the city looking for a place that would accomodate 14, as we always do. After food, a smaller crew went for beer and dessert. Laughs and brew were had. It wasn't until then that I got the call that snatched me back to reality. "He's gone", is all I heard. Maybe she said something else but I don't know what. Then it was nearly tackling the waitress for our bill and rushing to the train, and ridiculous thoughts.

"Maybe she said, 'He's going', like to the hospital, or walking on his own." This is what I said to myself to keep from falling apart in public on the train. It didn't work. As soon as we were above ground, the calls and texts came in from all corners of the nation. When we got off the train and booked it to the house, someone asked me if I wanted to see the body, and for a minute, I thought that If I see you, I can still say it:

"I love you, Bud."

That notion was as ridiculous as me thinking I could keep it together enough to even talk. I got to within 10 metres of the house, and it was as if someone dropped a tear gas grenade. Then came ridiculous notion #3: "I can do this". I managed to compose myself enough to get to your stoop...just in time to see the hospice caretakers carry you to the van. So no, I couldn't do this.

I may not have said everything to you that I wanted to, the way that I wanted to. I may have only texted you what encompassed everything I wanted to say to you. Some people didn't get to see you before you left. Some may not have gotten a chance to tell you how important you were to them. I hope you knew that for every well wish and sentiment you received, there were 20 more in waiting that didn't get to you. I may have punked out when I had a chance to tell you personally how much I appreciated you. But I love you, Bud. I hope you knew that.

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