Goodbye Kel

October 24, 2009

My best friend is leaving to join the US Navy for 6 years, and I’m not around to see him, go to the farewell parties, or give him a proper send-off.  Instead, I poured a bit of myself into this letter, which I’m now posting here because I have no shame.   Some of it is pretty good, if I may be so immodest.

Dude,

In… 8 days? 9? you’re leaving for the rum, buggary, and the lash – aka the Navy.  I’ve really proud of you man – my resentment of how our country’s armed forces are used notwithstanding, I admire your drive to get in there and make something of yourself.  Plus, you get to play with guns and nuclear reactors, and I’m a bit jealous.  Actually, how the fuck did they think it was a good idea to let you, of all people, play with that sort  of crazy shit?  Obviously none of them had to pull your naked ass out of a shower, or clean up your vomit spewed everywhere except the trashcan your head was in.  Kidding of course – of anyone I know, you’re going to do fantastic in that sort of work.  Just don’t you dare – don’t you fucking dare get yourself killed out there.

It hurts me deeply to be here, in Central America, while my best friend is preparing to ship off and live a whole ‘nother life for 6 years – crazy man.  It’s going to be the formative experience of you’re life, so I hope you’re ready for that.  We’re both going to come out of these travels completely changed, and I hope that we’ll still be as close afterwards as we were before I took off.  Jesus – it’s been 8 months since I saw you, 14 since we lived together – some days I still boggle at how un-connected I am to you, and to everyone we lived and died and loved and cried with.  The apartment days, new house, boy’s house, and even before all that, in high school, all our stupid tricks and jokes and dumbass games – remember Hide and Go Seek in our cars?  What the fuck were we thinking?  And even back before that, when we were in 6th grade, I the shortest kid around, awful teeth, shy as a ghost, and you, the fat asian kid eating bags of sugar and bouncing off the walls – I’m glad you never stopped bouncing off the walls man, or we wouldn’t have had half the fun we did.  Really man, up until I came down here, you were a part of everything in my life – every memory for 13 years has your goofy mug plastered right into it.  Thank you Kel, thank you for being my friend, for everything we’ve shared – heartbreak, drunken nights, laughs, the things we’ve done that I can’t talk about publicly, so many good times, some fights – who doesn’t? – some weird and awkward moments, and far too many great times, highs, lows, and everything in between.  Regardless of where we go in life, of what comes from here, I’ll never forget you man, and I’ll never let us lose contact – not willingly anyway.  (seriously, don’t you fucking die out there!)

Anyway, I’ve actually brought a tear to my own eye, so I’m going to switch gears, and write a few goofy things about our time together, share some of the writing I did in the dark days after everyone moved out of the house and left Brock and I alone, and the recipe for Waffleburgers, just for fun.  I’m posting this letter to my blog, as I do with everything these days, but don’t think for an instant that this anything other then my way of saying farewell, friend – until we meet again, whereever, whenever that may be.  I love you brother, and I know you feel the same.

And so, here goes:

Waffleburgers:
One day, when Kel and I were short on cash and full of creativity, he had a brilliant idea.  Since we had just about jack nothing in the apartment except for Eggo waffles, eggs, bacon, hamburger patties (thanks Costco) and condiments, here’s what the brilliant mind of one KGBizzle came up with –

Ingredients:

  • 1 Hamburger patty
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 2 waffles
  • syrup
  • steak seasoning
  • love

Toss waffles in toaster, throw frozen hamburger patty in George Foreman grill, sprinkle with steak seasoning once it is thawed somewhat, on stove, grill bacon, cook eggs in half of a tin can that you just tore apart with tin snips.  Break for “medical” herb infusion. (of you, not the food)  Once everything has cooked, assemble in this order, bottom to top – waffle, patty, egg, bacon, a fuckload of syrup, other waffle.  Sprinkle liberally with love, and serve.  This will feed one person, and can be eaten twice a day for approx 10 days or until coronary – it’s a race really.

The Worst-Best Memory I have of You:
Also in the apartment days, during the “heavy drinking” portion of our lives, there was one night during Sophomore year when you drank yourself retarded – literally.  You didn’t speak, just smiled and waved your cup of raw vodka at everyone – I think you’d forgone ice by this point.  After a hours during which we all marveled at your stamina and tried unsuccessfully to put you to bed, you said one word – shower – and retired to our shitty little bathroom.  The party went on, died down, and still no Kel had emerged from the shitter.

I put my ear to the door, heard running water, yelled your name.  Nothing.  Yell.  Nothing.  This went on a bit until I jimmied the door with a pen, and then Chad and I were greeted by you, in all your naked glory, sitting facing us, legs spread, in the shower, whose door you’d left wide open.  Semi-conscious, you still grinned at us, and said something I don’t remember.  We told you it was bedtime, you disagreed, and after a bit of diplomacy, we dragged your wet, naked ass to our shared room and tucked you into bed.  After discussing how this was the second encounter with Kel-in-the-shower, and how we hoped it wouldn’t become a theme, we also retired.

The next mornin was unpleasant – my head said “fuck youuuuu buddy!” and my body said “why, oh god, why?” More then that, the room’s funky smell was different – not just the usual dirty laundry and sweaty drunk that usually greeted us upon waking up, this morning there was the addition of what can only be described as “godawful vodka vomit.”  It was enough to make me try and go back to sleep, but my bladder and my headache and my bone-deep hatred of the smell of puke eventually conspired to make me open my eyes and face the world.

God, what a world it was – the apocalypse could scarcely have been more unwelcome.  There, in the middle of our room, was a near-circular spew of disgusting yellow(?) and chunked vomit.  6 feet in diameter, an impressive spray pattern, it spirated neatly into the middle, where my half-working eyes focused on your once-again-naked ass, curled in the fetal position, with a trashcan neatly covering your head.  It was like some sort of modern art piece, an installation that I would have titled “UCSB – the true picture” if not for the fact that I gagging on bile.

Stumbled to the bathroom, made a contribution of my stomach contents to the porcelain gods, and after a fortifying few minutes with Mooseknuckle (rest in peace, friend) I returned to the room with bucket, towels, detergent, and the only true hatred I’ve ever felt for you, Kel.  I mean it, I wanted to stab your eyes out and shit in the sockets.  I wanted to crash Sally into your civic.  I wanted to just scream and shake you – “what the fuck man!  What the fucking fuck did you do!?  However, you’re big and scary, and also my best friend, and so instead I picked you up, marveled at how the trashcan was completely, I mean completely empty of all things vodka or vomit, and put you into bed and covered you in that zebra comforter.

Then, while you spooned with your body pillow and snored softly, I spent damn-near 2 hours  cleaning the room, shampooing the carpet, detoxing the room.  I kept having to step out, swear, smoke Mental Cigarettes, (hey self-promotion!) and generally curse your very soul.  At the end of it, cleaning supplies put away, Mooseknuckle re-consulted, room smelling lemony-fresh, I stood next to your bed, and practiced my angry speech – I was going to tell you off man, give you hell, tell you cut the fuck back on the shitshows, to get some fucking help.

Just as I was about to shake you none-too-gently awake, you rolled over to face me, opened your eyes, smacked dry lips.  You looked around the room, at the floor, at the trash can back in its position by the door.  “Did you clean up my puke?”  “Yes.”  “You’re the best friend ever,” you said in a voice that meant it.  Then you rolled back over and passed out.  I stood there a long time, thinking about our friendship, about the trivial bullshit I was about to risk it over, and about how much I owed you that clean up for all the things you’ve given me and done for me.  Really friend, you were wrong – you’ve been the better friend – not just to me, but to everyone we know.  I only hope we’ll be on the same level when we meet again.

And Finally, some Angst and Worry:
I wrote this after you all moved out of Boy’s house, when I was living alone, miserable, and just begging the days to pass so that I could enter the Peace Corps and do something with my life.

8-15-08 – I need to fall in love, or just get fucked.

What is it about this time of year?  It’s like the air’s alive with change – I fear the writing scribbled on the wall, it says “Your life will end this fall.”  I know it’s true, but just don’t want to believe.  Don’t wanna think, can’t let myself, cause it just brings me down – but it’s the end of my time here in town.
So say those goodbyes while you can, I’ll leave without a sound.  No whisper – disappearing act – you won’t see me around.  My time has passed, now I must go, and that just brings me down.
I smoke myself to sleep these nights, alone in this big home – torn between “Don’t want to leave,” and “I can’t wait to roam.”  I’m gonna miss you all so bad, and all the things we’ve done – all the drunken wild nights, memories I can’t recall – no matter where we do end up, I’ll always love you all.
So say your goodbyes while you can, cause i won’t stick around.  I’ve so much left to do in life, my feet don’t touch the ground.
And while I zigzag cross the world, and hopefully off of it, I’ll think back to this life I’ve had, and regret none of it.  To all my friends and drinking pals, I pour one out to you – I’ll keep you  always in my heart, just please, remember me too.

Anyway Kel, this is stretching on rediculously long – I wish you all the best.  We’ll meet again – I’m damn sure of it, and you’d better believe we’ll have some more adventures ahead.  Apologies for the emotionall vomit – I just can’t believe we’re going to be separated for so long, and I’m not even around to say goodbye properly.  I love you man, I said that already once, but I couldn’t ask for a better friend.  All I do ask – one small favor – is that you write, email, or call me every once in a while and tell me what you’re up to.  I bet you’ll have a fantastic time, and if not, remember you can always go AWOL and hide out with me in Central America.

Peace Brother, until we meet again. -k

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2 Responses to “Goodbye Kel”

  1. Chad Says:

    couldn’t have been better said….

  2. Kelly Says:

    Thanks a million man. Miss you too. We will meet again and maybe if you’re still down there in 2 years maybe i’ll find a station around there. i’ll keep in touch for sure. but you need to have internets 🙂


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