This time last year I was laughing and joking with my male best friend about what he was going to do for his birthday. He invited me over for game night with his close family and friends. He was joking and carrying on while he was getting on me about not focusing on my writing. He used to say, “Don’t nobody want to hear your damn excuses, J you are full of shit.”
We always discussed our goals and dreams and for 6 years he always talked about acting and believe me, he could have done it. And because I bought it up everyday, he was determined to shut me up. He even enrolled himself in acting classes in Baltimore with Rain Pryor because I told him those same exact words. I was sooo proud of him. This is why I started writing again. He kept his promise and it was time for me to keep mine. Little did I know as I embarked on my end of the agreement, his journey would be coming to an end.
We met at work 10 years ago and immediately kicked it off. We discussed relationships, fashion, music, always cracking jokes, shared lunches, went for drinks, and most important kept each other sane during the course of the work day. We both worked for DC Government but at separate agencies. But it seemed like no matter what position or agency we transitioned to, we always ended up close to each other. Most days when you saw one of us you saw the other. He would come up to my desk 10 minutes after I got to work to see if I had breakfast and to check on me before the day started. If he emailed me and I did not respond fast enough. He would cuss me out so bad and slam the door of his office when I finally got a second to stop by. But he always let me in and we would be running our mouths so long, I’d get calls saying people were looking for me. Oops!
He was that friend that told you when you were wrong, that helped when things were tight, remembered the kids birthdays, helped me learn how to be understanding and flexible in my relationship, laughed with me, cried with me, was loyal to me, and honest with me. Even during his last week on this earth as I was dealing with transitions at work, he called me everyday just to make sure I was okay. I told him, “You the one in the damn hospital, why you checking on me. I’m ok I just want you to get better.”
That final conversation still hurts me today. He called me at work. I asked how he felt. He told me he wasn’t feeling well and he was tired of being poked and stuck with needles. As he explained, tired of this rude African nurse that kept that he was ready to slap. I told him, I knew he was raising hell up in that hospital just because I know how picky he was. I asked him if he wanted me to come up there and said it was too much going on and half his family was up there but he just wanted to hear my voice and laugh. He told me to that everything would be okay and he loved me. I told him I loved him too and would call him the weekend. I never thought that would be the last time I heard his voice.
For some reason in my lifetime I have lost friends that have been very close to me. When I was 11 I lost my childhood male best friend who had a rare heart disease that was never detected, at 14 my god-brother was shot down and killed in our SE neighborhood, at 18 my male best friend/play brother in a severe car accident. Now at 32 I have lost again. But I gained so much while he was here and I’m grateful. Because of you I write and will continue to follow my dreams. Thank you for helping me find my voice!
May all of my friends/brothers rest in peace. You all will always hold a special place in my heart. I MISS YOU but WILL NEVER FORGET YOU!
Happy Birthday Dante…….Gone but never Forgotten!!!