Aug 14, 2005

Words that I never wanted to say 

I just found out today that my friend Pat was killed in a motorcycle accident yesterday or the day before… what with time zones and international datelines, I don’t know exactly when it happened.
He would sometimes leave posts in the comments under the name “Dumass,” a screen name he used when we’d get together to play videogames. Usually his comments would be something insulting or vile… and I’d shoot barbs right back at him… because that’s how we were.
His wife and mine were co-workers and are friends. That’s how we met. He was a former Marine… into firearms, and videogames, and strong drinking… the stuff that Marines are into. We hit it off immediately. Even our dogs became best buds, and if I had a son, I’m sure his best friend would have been Pat’s son. My wife and I stayed at his house for awhile before we left North Carolina, after our own lease across town had run out. When we left, how was I to know that would be the last time I’d see him? That was just over a year ago.
We’d still talk to each other, but usually it was through those cheap shots we’d take at each other in my comments section. Our wives would have hours long conversations with each other on a regular basis, but usually we’d exchange our hellos through them… neither one of us was very big on phone conversations I guess… that’s just not what guys do...or something like that.
The last time we “talked” to each other was just over a month ago. He put a smartass comment across my bow, and I returned the shot… typical banter from the two of us… and now he’s gone.


I call bullshit.

He was a good dad, a good man, and a good friend, and now he’s gone and it’s not fucking fair. I just don’t know what else to say.

My wife emailed me with the news, which I ended up getting at a computer in my workspace aboard the ship… basically a public place. I wanted to cry, but I held it together for a while… and then I found someplace private and sat down and bawled for about five minutes. And then I thought, “What would Pat say?”

”Get up you homo! What are you trying to do, embarrass me?”

And I took a few deep breaths and smiled a little, because that IS something he’d say. But that was a few hours ago, and I’m still tearing up now as I write this.

He left behind a wonderful wife and a great kid… and quite a few dear friends who are going to miss him one hell of a lot.

In my next liberty port, you can bet that I’ll be good and sloshed after having raised more than a few to my friend. And contraband or not, I found some bourbon aboard this bucket and did a shot for my friend, because he damn well deserved one.

I’ve told no one here about what happened… I feel that any “I’m sorry’s” would ring hollow… they didn’t know the man, what have they got to be sorry about? I wouldn’t write about any of this, except for the fact that he’s one of the few people who actually know who I am, that I write this thing, and that supported it from the beginning. I’d go so far as to say that he’s one of the reasons I kept doing it… I wanted to see what I could say that would draw a reaction.

I don’t need any sympathy from anyone out there. Nothing’s wrong with me. I just wanted to vent some, and let everyone know what events have transpired… what will be coloring my view of the world for awhile.

Goodbye Pat. I hope to see you again. You are one of the best friends a guy could have.

This post was written three days ago, but I have been unable to put it up till now due to server problems. In that time I have learned that Pat was an organ donor and that he has the opportunity to help as many as 75 people with the tissues and marrow that were available. This is some small comfort to me, but of a much larger comfort is that Pat will have a military burial. I was concerned that this would not be the case... I don't know why, but I was. I know that he would have enjoyed the idea of being laid to rest by Marines, because that's what he was in his heart even though he hadn't worn the uniform in years. Once, always, and forever. It's good to know that someone back home is taking care of my friend, even though they didn't know him, while I'm so far away.

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