My Dearest James,
I would. I would cross oceans of time, just to find you, to see you again. To hear your voice again, to hear you play your guitar one more time.
It’s been 10 years, a whole decade has gone by since you were taken from us. I have never forgotten you, though with time, your face becomes less clear, it’s harder to remember your smile. I’ve nearly forgotten the sound of your voice, and it terrifies me that someday I won’t remember you, that I’ll have forgotten you completely.
There are memories that stick so very clearly though… I treasure them. I wrote once about the first time I met you, at your old house in Cascade, back when you were first dating Laurie. She was sitting in your lap, Steve had brought me over to meet you. Your cat had had kittens, and I wanted to take one home so badly, but I knew that my Grandmother would be pissed if I brought one home, lol. We went to the Park, and that was when I first heard the Park Song that you had written.
“You call your friends, and I’ll call the other ones.
We all live together, we all come from the unknown homes.
And it’s the Park, national Stoner Park, where we live among the Weed.
And we’ll all die together, we’ll be here forever.”
God, it hurts so much. So many things have happened since you’ve been gone. I can remember the day I found out, 10 years ago today. I called the Hippie Pad looking for Steve and Sara answered the phone. I heard crying in the background and the only thing she could manage to say was “He’s dead.” I thought she was talking about Steve and I started freaking out. Then she said words that were just as terrible. “Jimi, he’s dead.” I dropped the phone and started to fall to the ground. Ryan caught me as I wailed over and over that it was a joke. A horrible prank, you were going to walk in the door and shout “Gotcha!” at any moment. It was the only time I’ve ever seen Ryan cry you know. I remember a couple of days later I was dreaming that you were knocking on the front door, calling to me to open up and let you in. I woke suddenly and I heard someone really knocking on the door. I was thrilled because I hoped beyond hope that I had finally woken from the nightmare I found myself in. I hauled my hugely pregnant body out of bed and ran to the door throwing it open, waiting to greet you. When I opened the door, instead of finding you standing there, I found some Jehovah’s Witnesses. My heart died a little more and I slammed the door in their faces saying “You’re not him.”
Everyone spent the next few days drinking themselves into oblivion, trying to numb the pain. I couldn’t drink of course, but I did my best to cope. I emailed Shawn a lot, I tried to call him, to tell him. But I finally had to email him about what happened. He wrote a poem for you, I’m sure you remember hearing it at your memorial.
“It was as if his guitar shook the ground when he played it –
how it held together was a mystery to me.
Leaving me full of winder and pride in a friend that
could accomplish such feats left me amazed every time.
I can’t count the night we spent together hanging out
or how many words spoken to one another as well
but the love that endured through all our downfalls and trials
that we kept together is called friendship.
Real true blue Friendship…
I was always there for him since the day I met him – I gave him my shoes for the first time,
There were many more times like that –
He was hard on shoes.
But he was always there in return.
There was never a bad day – never an unspoken word –
There was only friendship that would never die…
and now he is gone.
Who do I help now?
Who can ease my pain with one tune
from that earth-shaking sound that comes only from him?
I have lost more than a friend, one that comes only once in a lifetime –
I have lost a part of my own life.
And so now as you all sit there and remember our Dear Brother,
Please remember the wonder he caused in you.
He was a miracle to all of us.
He has forever changed our lives
And now that guitar, and that blessed voice sing on
Somewhere else now –
in our hearts forever.
I love you Jimi, I’ll never forget you.”
Truer words were never spoken, and it’s funny, the day before the memorial, the day I found that in my email, there was an earthquake. The largest we’d had in a long time. I told Shawn that and he agreed with me, it was like he played one last song and the ground shook with it.
There are so many memories I have of you, and it’s weird to think I only knew you for 3 years. We had good times, and bad times. You used to sit and justify your love life to me, telling me that didn’t like to fuck women, you wanted to make love with them. The romantic in me swooned with that… seriously, it was weirdly a very romantic thing to say. It was at the Kent skate park and you sat and kept me company in the car. Steve and Ben were skating and I think they told me to go away, I was bad luck or something, so you sat with me.
You used to spend a lot of time over at Steve’s mom’s house. Your step-dad threw you out at one point and you lived with us for like six months. You got me back into my love of Final Fantasy, it was VII that you played, and I would watch you and read the strategy guide trying to figure out how to breed the chocobos in the game. When I finally started my own game, you were so pissed that I figured out how to breed the Gold chocobo, but you agreed that the Knights of the Round summon was pretty bad ass.
I would also sit and watch as you played Gran Tourismo, the endurance races that lasted like an hour. Only you would have the patience for that shit. And I would watch and remind you to go to the pit to get your “tires changed” lol. And when I started working for Starbucks, you developed this massive crush on Katia, and would walk with me to my early shifts, the 4am ones where I would open the store… I would walk from Steve’s house and you and Ben or Josh, or Steve would walk with me, make sure I was safe. But more often than not, it was you.
You would want free frappuccinos, and I’d put you to work, carrying out the heavy ass tables to set up outside. And then whatever you wanted, you got. You helped me “invent” the caramel mocha rumba frappuccino. God was that ever good! And you KNOW I hated frappuccinos.
My 18th birthday party was pretty awesome, too. I only invited like 25 and by the end of the night, like 250 people showed up. We held it on Halloween, and my Grams let us take over the basement. You and Misty, Steve and Shawn played live music for us and you sang for me my favorite songs. God I loved to hear you sing.
And then when I started working at Tully’s we were living in Seattle for a while, on 85th and Aurora. My parents ran a hotel there, and we joked that it was “Hooker Town” and it freaked Josh out to no end when they’d come and try to persuade him to give them some “business”, lol. You had your own room, free rent… Mom was just THAT good with the books. You chased that one guy away that wasn’t taking no for an answer, I am so glad you were there. I remember you would sit with me as I cried over Steve breaking up with me – yet again. And I would sit with my fifth of Bacardi 151… damn that shit was like drinking rubbing alcohol! But I downed half of that bottle sobbing hysterically and you stole it from me and told me to stop wasting my life over stupid shit that I had no control over and you drank the rest of the bottle. We were so drunk! And I told you that I was horny and needed to get laid. I completely propositioned you that night, and you looked me directly in the eyes and said “ask me again when you’re sober.” Then we played FFVII until we passed out. The next morning you told me that we’d never speak of it again, you knew how I felt about casual sex, that’s why you rejected me. You had more respect for me as a person to take advantage of me. That’s when I KNEW that you were my best friend.
You wondered what depressed chicks did and decided that shopping was the cure for a broken heart, and so we went, and I bought the outfit you chose for me, you told me I was beautiful in it. That pale blue and silver paisley skirt and sheer shimmery top that matched. I’ll never be able to wear it again, it’s much much too small… but I’ll NEVER get rid of it. And then we went back to the hotel with ice cream and you wanted to watch a movie so I let you pick. I couldn’t believe it when you said “Oh hey! I’ve always wanted to watch this!” and pulled out “Ever After”. It WAS a good movie.
It wasn’t much longer after that when you moved to Sumner with your mom and Hayden (he was 9 at the time) and I got my apartment. We spent a lot of time hanging out, at least until you started dating Alicia. We found out she was pregnant right before we found out about my pregnancy. *Grins* You and Steve were in such a shock. I was jealous of Alicia though, you were so much happier about becoming a Dad, Steve resisted as long as he could (just so you know, he’s STILL resisting, but I think maybe, just maybe he’s starting to get a clue.) It was funny though, as mine and Alicia’s bellies began to swell with the babies, your happiness must have been contagious, because Steve started to find the wonder in the miracle that we created.
New year’s was pretty amazing that year. You were proud of me for going back to get my GED, encouraged me to finish it to prove that I wasn’t a quitter. Then you and Alicia decided to go to Eatonville where her grandparents lived for the week. God the memory haunts me to this day. You jacked my lighter and I told you “Hey, gimme back my lighter you jackass!” I caught it when you threw it to me with that ridiculously amazing panty-dropping smile of yours. “See ya in a week” I called out… and then you walked out the door. Valentine’s came and went and then you were gone.
We went and found the spot where the accident happened. I stood in the spot where you died. Apparently you had lay there for a bit dying alone. It hurts me so much that you were alone in your last moments, the pain must have been agony.
People think I’m morbid because I talk about your death so often. They don’t understand that this is my way of coping, of remembering, of grieving. My own way of healing.
I still cry for you too, you know. A while back I woke up in hysterics because it was like a fresh wound all over again… it was like you had just died all over again. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t stop the tears, the sobs that burned in my chest. Like a fresh hole had been punched right through my heart.
I’ve learned how to live with out you. Found reasons to, I have three boys now, but I know you know that. We gave Aiden your name, James. It was to honor you, and I tell the boys stories about you all the time. Hayden is getting ready to have his first child with Schei, too. They found out last week that it’s going to be a girl. Man, you would have doted on her. You were always great with kids, like really great with kids. Keeping Chelsea entertained while my mom worked in the office of the hotel while I was at work. You would have made a WONDERFUL father someday.
But in the end, you died, and there is nothing I could have done to save you, though the Gods know I wish everyday that I could have. A little part of me has always been in love with you. You could see me. Like that line in the “Avatar” movie… “I see you.” You did. You saw me. The real me. Not the fake one that I put out for the rest of the world to see, the one that I showed to keep me from being hurt and broken by people who didn’t know how easy it was to break me. Back in the beginning, you guys were so protective of me… I was the only girl who was a constant at that point. Even when Steve broke up with me those couple of times… you all chose me. You chose to hang with me and be my friend. I loved you all for it.
Well, my love, I think this is it for tonight. I’ve gone on long enough about you and my memories. I won’t forget you, you were such a huge influence on my life, and you helped shape the part of me that is still whole… even if it is missing a piece where you once were. Someday, somewhere, I will find you again. We WILL be together again. I don’t know when or how or who we’ll be… but I promise you this – I will find you. You are a part of me, forever.
I hope that now, you look on me with love. That you still accept me for my faults, that you still SEE ME. And every so often I hear a small echo, something in the wind that sounds like your voice, I know it’s you telling me that you are still around in some small way. I’ll love you forever and ever. I hope you found peace, and I hope that you are somewhere with my Grandpa and Lina, too. I know you’re waiting for us all to join you, so that we can start our next adventure. I hope you have some patience though… It might be awhile before we all get there… we gotta a lot of living to do, for you and us.
Love you forever,