Life, Death and Cigarettes

I hate to glorify the dead, but…

One of the best men I ever knew died in Afghanistan yesterday.

I know that people are complicated, but as I knew him, he was amazing.  He was often smiling.  He always had a spare hug to give you.  He seemed genuinely content.  He loved to talk, about nothing or about everything.  He cared about people, even his friends who nobody else ever bothered to care about.  He was kind of a smart ass, but the kind that was never a pest.  He was the kind of guy that, if you were describing him to someone who didn’t know him, you’d always sum him up as “a good guy”.

I miss him.  I’ve missed him for a few years now and I guess I’m going to have to miss him for years to come.

Memory: We stayed up all night working on our final papers for a class we had together.  We met in a designated smoking area beneath a massive tree every hour to share a cigarette and a little commiseration.  He called to check on me when I fell asleep and ended up being late to the final peer review.

Memory: He was piss drunk, cigarette slung from the corner of his mouth. He smiled when he saw me, offered a “Doooooots!” and gave me a hug.  And I was just as excited to see him.  I always was.  He had that effect.  We were about to graduate, so of course we were in a spirit of festivity!  I don’t know if I saw him after that night, shy of cheering when I heard his name called.

Memory: “Cable’s going in the army.”  ”Shit, what’s he doing that for?”

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