Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Forever Young . . .

I heard this yesterday morning on my way home from the club.  It's been a long time since I've sat in the car and waited for a song to finish - particularly when it's 7 degrees below zero.  But I did.  I listened to the entire song, and it snapped me right back to another time and place . . .

I think of my friend, Franklin, whenever I hear it.  He is the reason that I actually DO all the things I have always wanted to do.  He was my best friend.  It was a different time and a different place - different country. We met each other overseas, and were pretty much inseparable, and when we came back from Germany, he went to New York and then D.C., and I went to Colorado.

I found a loft in lower downtown that I wanted to get and have him come and live with me there.  Neither of us had much money, so I suppose it was little more than a pipe dream, but I often thought that if he had done that, that he might still be here . . .

Oh, we were babies . . .


I was A and he was B (short for Franklin Bear). 20-somethings with our entire lives ahead of us.  We adored each other and we had SO much fun together.  That's a photo of a photo, so it's not a great capture, but it's my favorite shot of us, and I keep it on the wall in my office.  He was directing me in a show (I think he was - but actually I just went and looked this up and he was the production photographer, as he often was).

Me in Denver, and he on the Eastern Seaboard - we used to watch videos on VH1 together on the phone  :-D  It was the early 80's . . . music videos were still young and still pretty wonderful, and we'd get on the phone and watch together and catch up.  Plenty of conversations started with me saying, "B, I met the cutest boy!" and he would say, "Me, too!"

I got married - B came to the wedding.  My then-husband was extremely jealous of him and the time we spent together - which admittedly wasn't much since we lived so far away, but we made the most of the telephone.  And we lived our lives.  I'd go to D.C., usually in March, to visit and play. We lived our lives until one of us didn't any more.

And then it was the 90's . . . and we were 30-somethings, and B was sick.  HIV then was not like it is now - the drug cocktails now do amazing things, and people live with HIV and AIDS.  Back then, they mostly died . . . and that's what B did.  He died.

My heart shattered into a million jagged pieces.

It was the first time I had lost a friend who was my peer.  All the things we both wanted to do - now B would never do them.  He's why I have a list of "Things I Have Always Wanted to Do."  I never call it a bucket list - that's offensive somehow - like you're waiting to die.  It's all about living for me.  I've done a lot of things from my list - learned to play the bagpipes, got a tattoo, bought a Gucci scarf, and drove all of Old Route 66, to name a few.

I made a quilt square for Franklin and went to D.C. for a memorial service.  His partner asked me to speak at the service, but he asked me on the spot and I was completely useless and wasn't able to say anything meaningful.  I've always felt bad about that.  All of his friends there signed the square and then his partner and another long-time friend and I took it to the Mall in D.C., and pinned it into the Names Project Foundation Quilt.  It's in block 07210.




I know it's a little hard to see:
.
Remember, my sentimental friend
A heart is not judged by how much you love
But by how much you are loved by others.    -  Oz, the Great and Powerful

We Loved You So



I think of Franklin (I can't ever remember calling him Ron :-D) a lot still. To paraphrase a line from Steel Magnolias, he will always be young, he will always be beautiful.  He's never that far away somehow, and he might as well have been in the car with me yesterday . . .





5 comments:

Linda said...

This is a beautiful tribute!

A :-) said...

Thanks Linda - you would have liked him very much :-)

candy said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I am in tears.

A :-) said...

Thanks Candy - he was a wonderful, wonderful friend. I miss him very much.

Michelle said...

I can't say I've ever experienced a loss that close, but I can feel some of it because of your poignant post.

(((HUGS)))