You never know what to expect when you wake up in the morning. You turn on the news, find out something else has been blown up, people shot over some political or religious reason… open up the newspaper, read your horoscope hoping, if it’s true, the good things will happen. The bad, you hope, is just irrational gibberish.
This morning, while coffee was brewing, my eyes still adjusting to the sunlight, I checked my phone. There was a text message.
At 7:18 this morning I was notified my best friend, the Great Urban Philosopher, Rickolas, had died.
I just spoke to him on the phone yesterday!
And I won’t lie to you, dear Reader, after I read the text, I threw my phone to the floor & started crying. It just does not seem right. The last time I saw him was my departing day at the Sober House. He gave me a green, tactical backpack (which I still have, and, now, will never get rid of) a hug, told me we would meet at the famous Burning Man festival, paint our faces green, & live it up for days.
It was a pact.
Yesterday, we had made plans to go to Key West together. We were going to shoot sharks with .357 magnum pistols from a boat. Be crazy in the mind, & in love with life.
We began as roommates in a Sober Living Half-Way house. And the friendship started out great. The way it should be, for me, anyway. He wanted some advice on writing. He was writing a letter to his girl. He needed help. I jumped off my bunk, put a piece of paper in my typewriter, and ask, “So this girl, Puss-Puss, what does she like?”
(I always enjoy a writing project. This was no exception.)
Writing love letters was a daily – if not constant – thing for Rickolas. So, we had lots to speak about. And given the tender nature & vulnerability of a writer – especially a writer of love letters – he needed support & validation all the time about his writing, which I was happy to give him.
Even that name I said, Puss-Puss, became the pet name for his girlfriend.
One of my earlier columns, “Back and Forth”, was about him. (That was written in June or July, last year.)
What is this feeling you get when you lose someone? That feeling that you are drastically losing weight, yet there is iron in your stomach, static in the mind, acid in your eyes, & breaths can’t come soon enough… I know: all of us have had this feeling… that feeling & knowledge you will never see that person again. Not in this life, anyway.
I know I will stay here on the compound – my mountain – today & tonight. I will fire off some shots from the magnum, shoot some rockets in the sky, cry a little more – I’ll honor my friend.
R.I.P., Rickolas. Make sure there are plenty of cigarettes & space & all the other things waiting for me in Heaven. You know I’ll need them, Nigga. And you & I will probably be booted to Hell after a few days together. Why the fuck not? I love you, Ol’ Boy.
I’ll be sure to be there when your son is born.