Ten years ago today, two of my friends died in a car accident.
They had been driving on the beach, adjusted their tire pressure for sand, and didn't readjust when they got back on the road.
Neither was wearing a seatbelt. They would both still be here today if they were.
I loved them both, but one of them was the kind of person who you just get... excited about. I had had a HUGE crush on him pretty much my whole childhood, and he was one of my first "boyfriends" when we were really young, but we drifted apart a bit in high school. He was so funny, and awkward in an endearing way, and EVERYBODY loved him. Everybody. He was so smart, and kind, and made jokes that only made you laugh if you knew him. He read the Silmarillion when we were in seventh grade just because, we used to play backyard wiffleball together, we used to walk my dog together. We talked about everything, because we were both a bit strange in a way most of our classmates weren't.
I get scared because I can't remember big details about our friendship anymore. I remember little ones. I remember him calling Gatorade "low tide juice" (because he thought it was gross) and being the first person to tell me they were replacing tan M&Ms with blue ones. I remember the time we were in a school play together and I had to fake slap him when he was "dead," but I accidentally really slapped him and everyone on stage started laughing. I remember, when I heard he died, and when I went to the wake, thinking that I just wished I could slap him and he'd start laughing and this would all be over. But I couldn't tell you what we talked about when we'd walk my dog for hours, I couldn't tell you what we talked about when we'd ride the bus home together, I couldn't tell you what it felt like to hug him. I get so scared of forgetting, and that one day, he'll just be the boy who told me about blue M&Ms.
It's never over. Ten years later, he still is in my dreams. And it's never like dreams of my childhood, it's dreams where he somehow comes back. And suddenly, it's like, this whole amazing future that was ahead of him is back. All the college scholarships he would certainly have gotten (he was wicked smart), all the things he could have been and done, and the life he could have had.
I am never ever sure what I think about the afterlife. I don't know if I believe in heaven, I don't know if I believe in reincarnation, I don't believe in nothing, because I figure, if nothing else, our energy goes back into the earth and we become a part of everything.
What I do know is that three weeks after their funeral, I had a regatta. There was no wind that day. I felt the need to go to the cemetery first, I couldn't say why. I talked to them (whatever that meant/means to me), I went to my regatta. Despite there being no wind, despite barely anyone breaking two knots, my skipper and I pulled away from the fleet by two full legs of the course. For those not well-versed in sailing, that's ridiculous. Especially on no wind. I'm mostly including this part at the end, because this is the only comfort I have from this whole thing. The idea that maybe there is something else.
Also, everyone please wear your seat belts.