I lost a friend Saturday night. I didn't find out until late Sunday, when I was cold, tired, and hungry after spending the better part of 5 hours at a Life Flight landing zone waiting for a patient to arrive. I got home, heated a can of ravioli (Annie's organic cheese ravioli in a non-BPA lined can... it still tasted like canned ravioli), and slumped at my computer to veg out while eating mindlessly. Right there, in my Facebook feed, "Passed in the night from complications of diabetes." Let me put you straight, this was a vibrant, sparklingly incandescent person who knew of their health issues and was very conscientious. There had not been previous episodes or incidents. This came out of the blue like sucker punch. Only 33 years old. Loved and lusted for. Likely envied for their quick mind, wicked wit, and poetry skills that I have watched blossom over the last 6 years or so. I remember dancing at the E Club, hot and sweaty, singing loudly along with 4 Non-Blondes to "What's Going On." Every since, I have thought of them every time I heard that song. Now it will be a song to bring a touch of tears to my eyes.
Life has taken on a surreal quality in the 22 hours since I read those words. I keep expecting to hear that it is some huge and horrible mistake. Oddly enough, I spent the better part of yesterday morning working on their tiny house, which is really just a shell with the interior barely roughed in. I have been doing repairs, and had been given free rein to take over the construction and make it liveable space. I sat on the bed frame, with a cup of coffee at my elbow, and made up a long list of the projects I hoped to complete over the winter. I had planned to text them the list, knowing how excited they would be. Going out on a long medical rescue had kept me from sending the text. I am relieved, on one hand, since I would have been texting to the ether. I am also saddened, wanting to think that they would have gotten the text anyway. Oh well, hindsight.
I haven't cried yet. I think it is because I still don't really believe they are gone. There is a monthly poetry gathering later this week that they were an organizer for, that is now being turned into a memorial and remembrance. Funny, I just remembered, I was at Queer Poetry Night the very first time they stepped up to the mike to publicly read one of their poems. It was beautiful, funny, sexy. They were both confident and shy, and altogether charming. It was at the beginning of their blossoming, changing from small town misfit to big city inspiration and rabble rouser.
I watched them grow and change, and felt a certain envy for the way they had come into their own. Being their own damned self with every fiber of their being. Okay, now the tears come, in a torrent. The world lost a beautiful, unique, inspiring, intelligent, hilarious, ludicrous, loud, charming, sensitive, extroverted introvert. We lost a spirit that could not be dimmed despite having been given a rough road to travel. And travel it they did, not merely traveled but paraded, stomped, danced, skipped, and cartwheeled. I lost a friend who I could trust with my deepest secrets, and who made me laugh, feel less like a hermit, and who made me want to sit up late talking of all things and nothing. We shared victories and losses, dreams and delusions, fantasies and reality. I thought we had all the time in the world.