We went to your service last Saturday. It was so surreal. I have to admit that until we arrived at the chapel there was a numb feeling of disbelief in my heart. I just knew that I’d see your number pop up on my cell phone and I’d sigh and tell you about the nightmare I had where you died. I’m sure you would’ve told me that my morbid ass would be the first to go so I shouldn’t worry about it.
Your family and many of your friends were at the service – Clent, Algernon, Slugger, Sara and Lorraine attended. Clent even brought Martin. Did you ever meet him? Well, BD didn’t come. I couldn’t have him see me all broke up like that. I was going to have you hang with BD this summer. Oh Bobby, he’s such a great man. You’d be happy for me; I’m sure of it!
When we filed into the chapel I stopped and stared at you in that coffin. I could hear myself breathe and I thought I would pass out. I wanted to touch you, but I was scared…that maybe if I touched you I wouldn’t hold it together – or worse, that I’d end up giving you one of those inappropriate coffin hugs that has folks pulling me off you. You didn’t look like yourself and it hurt my heart to think that as you deteriorated to that point I wasn’t there to hold your hand.
We sat about halfway back in the chapel – not by choice – your family is BIG Ms. Thing! Lorraine had been crying and sniffling a lot. She still remembers how you wouldn’t let Jazmin live down eating Eukanuba dog food when she was a toddler – even after she was all grown up and ready to graduate from high school! I wanted to comfort her, but I knew that it would only send me to an inconsolable place. Clent spoke first and he was the only speaker that really shook my core, since I felt he was speaking from a place of someone who knew you. I just felt that the other folks struggled to really find words to describe you. Lorraine reminded me not to leave anything unsaid and I walked up to the podium. My legs felt like lead and as I looked out into the crowd I didn’t feel afraid…I felt like a little kid that was being asked if I had broken mom’s vase. I told folks how we had fought and never had a chance to make up. I kept pausing to catch myself. A few times my face felt like it would betray me and contort, but I managed to keep it together. When I sat down your family and friends looked back and tried to reassure me that you would’ve been okay with me…I didn’t want to hear it. I know you and I would’ve cursed each other out something fierce, but we would’ve made up like we had throughout the previous 25 years . I did feel comfort in saying it out loud to folks….that they shouldn’t leave things unsaid…that tomorrow isn’t promised.
We went back to Bernadette’s house for the repasse and your folks really put their foot in that food; it was delicious. Your god brother Alvee was there. He kept running his mouth about how he brought you out to Better Days Night Club for your first gay outing. As he ran his trap, I drifted away to a time when you and I were at Better Days and I was too drunk to drive. We caught a cab to the Sheridan diner where I ordered a huge breakfast and you ate my breakfast and yours while I lay in your lap drooling. My eyes welled-up with tears and Alvee said, “Look at you gettin’ all teary-eyed thinkin’ about Bobby.” Your god brother is extra.
I guess the only thing I regret about the service is that I didn’t mention a few key things that I felt were so close to my heart that saying them out loud would’ve had me crumble in front of everyone…
…thank you for always protecting me when my bark was WAY tougher than my bite
…thank you for being my loyal best friend even when I stepped out on faith and hurt your feelings
…thank you for your advice and your mentorship early on…it really made me the man I am today
I know this letter is long and you would’ve said, “What is this bitch…a book?!” but I really miss you. I was laughing halfway into this letter just thinking how you would always give me that sarcastic stare and act like you were playing the violin when my stories went off the beat-and-path and took too long. You’d always say, “There’s a point right???” Well, there is. Periodically, I’m going to write you….and as much as it would probably piss you off, I’m going to post the letters right here in my blog. Yeah, what are you going to do about it Ms. Honey…I didn’t think so. I’m going to do this because I think about you everyday Bobby…probably always will.
Make sure you’re watching me from up there…I may need you to peer into my dreams every now and then to tell me what you’re thinking.