Dear Cisco aka Sicko One,
How to start this. It has always felt awkward to start a letter with , “Hi. How are you doing?” and then go right into what I really want to say. I still have a hard time with that though. I just usually go for it. Anyhow, now I’ve made this already weird letter even more uncomfortable. So, let me start over.
Hi. How are you? That’s right. You’re fucking dead, in some compostable, cardboard box up in Washington. Rotting. You’re rotting. You’re rotten. You’re dead.
Today is your birthday. It’s also Elvis’ birthday. We know that though. He was born on yours and died on mine, remember? Death. Dying. It doesn’t get easier. It just gets more. This letter is not going how I thought it would.
Anyways, the last time I saw you was on your birthday. Your thirty-third birthday. The one right before you died. I remember that night like you were going to knock on my door any minute right now. You had been drinking and I was no longer drinking and it was awkward. We had always been drinking or smoking or something. Remember when you would only drink Yukon Jack? Jesus, that shit was terrible. We drank so much Yukon Jack, with Mountain Dew. So much. We smoked and drank and just spent so much time. We laughed. Remember that we laughed so much. I do.
I wish we could laugh right now. I wish my door would get knocked on and you would be standing there. You used to get a look in your eyes when you had been drinking the way you were drinking the last time I saw you. It was like you had been set free and in a moment’s notice, you would be chained up again. It was a constant struggle to stay free.
Remember the time I went to jail right before Christmas and you visited me? I can’t remember if I was expecting a visitor that day. I didn’t have many. But, that weekend I got one. It was you and Nikki. I don’t remember much except that you came and we laughed. You left. But, you didn’t leave me empty handed. You put fifty bucks on my books and hadn’t even mentioned it. You were such a good friend. Way better than I knew then. I know so much more now that you’ve gone. It’s interesting how death does that. It gets rid of all that stuff that doesn’t matter and the truth rises up to the top.
So anyways, I’m writing you to tell you that I miss you. I miss the times. I miss those old days. The golden days. I miss them. Remember the time that you jumped off the cliffs in Havasu? I remember Laurel and I had just hustled a jet ski out of some guys we didn’t know and there you were. Jumping into the water. Splash. That reminds me of the time that you jumped off the cliff in Laguna, only you didn’t jump on the side where every one else did. You leaped into the washing machine. The part that the waves would crash into and just imaginably tear shit up. We had never seen anyone do that before. It didn’t tear you up though. You were in and out and up the side of the cliff before the waves had a chance to get you. Nothing ever got you. Or, at least I thought it didn’t.
But, death finally did. I remember when I heard that you were dead. It was a regular, sunny day. My phone rang. You were dead. I began to laugh. It wasn’t a nervous laugh. It was because all I could think of was any funny thing that you had ever done and they kept coming. There were so many. You were always the crazy life of the party. You had the biggest smile and the softest eyes and the longest eyelashes. And, I would never see them in person again.
Days later I was in Oregon, waiting to go to your funeral. I still had not cried though. I began to believe that I didn’t love you. I began to doubt our friendship. I began to grieve. The day of your funeral was the worst day we would ever see together. We had many great times and some days that we couldn’t even see each others faces. But, today would be the worst.
Walking into that funeral home in black, I trailed behind the rest of the group. Death is so awful and tricky. I could see you, but my mind wouldn’t process that it was you. It wasn’t your time. As I began to join everyone around you, my knees got week and I grabbed a pew to sit in. The world flushed inside of me all at once and in one instant, I knew what it really meant to know that you were dead. My dear, sweet friend was dead. This physical existence was gone.
So, now on days like today, I think of you madly and intensely and I try not to focus on those last few moments before you stopped breathing. I try to think of any other memory of you and not what you felt like in those last few minutes. I try not imagine how lonely you felt or scared or lost in the dark. I try not to. It doesn’t work very well yet. I still immediately go to that image of that rafter. I should have never looked. I don’t know how your mom did. I suppose she had to. I just can’t. I just do. I just miss you.
I guess I’m going to go now. I just want you to know that I miss you. I love you. I miss you so. And, I’m so happy to know that you’re safe and free. You’ve always deserved to be free.
Tre-Dogg aka Neyen Tre