Yesterday I found out that an old friend of mine from high school, Josh Clark, had died. He was 33.

After staring at that last sentence for some time I’m not sure where to go from there. I don’t know what happened, but it is my understanding that it was from natural causes. The other week I realized that it’d been a real long time since we had spoken and I made a note to call him, but never got around to it. Whenever I lived in the Chicagoland area we always hung out, but we never really talked on the phone, so when I moved to Florida to help take care of my Dad, Josh and I just kinda drifted. I’m planning a trip up there in the Spring and he was on the list of people to see.

One of my favorite memories of him was when we went to go see Nile and Arch Enemy play in Aurora back in 2002. It was an awesome show, especially since I was in love with Angela (the lead singer of Arch Enemy) at the time and got close enough that her sweat fell on me. (Gross, I know, but I was all of 20 at the time). On the way back Josh started making fun of me, as he often did. This time it was for my driving, which, I admit, is overly cautious as I *gasp* only go a few miles over the speed limit. After some time of him calling me Grandma and various such remarks I said fine and starting speeding.  You know what happens next – lights, sirens and we’re on the side of the road. The cop comes, says we smell of marijuana. I explain we were just at a metal concert and show him the ticket. He calls backup and suddenly there’s four cops telling us to get out of the car. After an uncomfortably thorough frisking they continue to question us. Eventually determining that we don’t pose a threat they let us go. To this day it is still the only time I’ve ever been pulled over and the only ticket I’ve ever gotten. And Josh never, never let me forget it.

Oh Josh.

When I first heard of his death I just sat for a long time in silence. And then I did what I always do when I feel completely helpless and have no clue what to do next – I started writing. Here’s the result:

“Hey.”
“Hey.”
“So how you been man? I just heard about your death.”
“Yeah lame, right?”
“Yeah. So you’re really dead then?”
“Looks that way.”
“Huh. How’s it feel?”
“Alright I guess.”
“Anything I can do?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Oh. Okay. So, you want to do something? Or something?”
“Not really much I can do, just talk I guess.”
“Well that’s cool. That’s mostly all we ever did anyway. At least between the horror movies and 80s metal.”
“Ha. Yeah.”
“Hey, you know, thanks for listening. I mean, sometimes you could be a real ass, me too for that matter, but you always listened. You got a good heart, I’ll always be grateful for that.”
“You know I only did because listening to your crap made me feel better about my life.”
“Naturally. Glad I could do that for you. Why else would I get myself into doomed relationships and complain about them endlessly? I just wanted to make you feel better.”
“Ha, right.”
“Seriously.”
“Seriously, you’re an idiot.”
“Ha. Seriously, actually seriously though, I’m sorry. Your name was on my list of people to contact for too long. I mean, I have an actual list and you’re on the top. I don’t know what to say.”
“It’s all right. What’s it matter now?”
“I guess so. But I still feel bad about it.”
“Forget it. What’d you want to talk about anyway?”
“Well, nothing really, just realized how long it’d been. Probably would’ve just ended up talking about the same things we always did.”
“Girls and music?”
“Pretty much. And how you vehemently disagreed with my choice of both.”
“Not my fault you have horrible taste.”
“Back at you.”
“Is it any wonder why we’d end up hanging out at a Denny’s on a Friday night, eating crappy food?”
“Someone had to be those guys.”
“We were good at the role.”
“Ha, yeah. Thanks for being there. Only thing that would’ve been more pathetic would have been if I was alone.”
“No problem.”
[ – ]
“Well…I guess I should get going.”
“Alright, good talking to you man. We’ll talk soon, yeah?”
“Anytime man, anytime.”

Goodbye Josh.

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