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Agent Moth the Bon Vivant

My mother called earlier today to tell me that my old best friend has died.  I hadn't heard from him in a long time, since the last time he came to Baton Rouge, which was... I can't really remember when, sometime in early college.  He, I, and another guy who I've lost touch with were 3 best friends, did absolutely everything together.  He and I used to do all the bad kid stuff in middle school, and all the really bad kid stuff in high school.  He was the worse one, and through subjective peer pressure (he never cared if I went along with what he did, but he was my friend and I wanted to do whatever he was doing).  He was on his own path and it got him into a lot of trouble with his parents, who didn't understand his behavior, and pretty much anyone else besides me and a couple of others who understood him only enough to know how to enjoy it.  Last I heard he was doing well and moving up, but last I heard was probably six years ago from his sister, who was much like him.  He died a month ago, May 3rd (an unlucky day already for me), so I long missed the funeral.  His mother had a difficult time getting ahold of us and wanted me to tell anyone who would be interested in the news.  I wonder who will and will never know;  he kept more friends in his teens than I will ever have acquaintances. 

I wrote him letters in the years since I last saw him, asking how he was doing, what he was up to, how life was treating him and what was new in his life, sorry I haven't written you, hope things are getting better for you, come visit sometime, etc.  I never mailed any of them;  partially because I wasn't sure if he still lived where his last letter came from, but mostly because I was lazy and a little afraid that the reason I hadn't heard from him was that he didn't want to hear from me anymore.  I used to look his name up on Google from time to time, just to see if he was doing anything, anything at all.  I never could find anything about him though, I guess he never got digital.  I even thought about going to visit him, taking a side-trip from one of the Pennsylvania vacations, driving the few hours it would've taken to show up and see him, but I never did because of the same reasons.

I'd like to think, and at the same time I hate to think, that sending one of those letters would've changed things for him a little, maybe prompted him to write back or call, given him something to look forward to for a little while, kept him from doing some dumb shit like killing himself.  I would like to have seen him again, I really would have.  I had actually always kept in the back of my mind the idea of him standing in my wedding, as unlikely as it is.  I'm going to make a trip up to visit his grave sometime.  I know when;  he lived only minutes from Pittsburgh, although I don't know if I want to do that while I'm there in a couple of weeks, though it would be convenient (if his family still even lives there).  I just don't know what to say to his mother, his sister, or his wife, who I just learned about.  When my mother emailed me last night saying his mother had called her, I said to myself about him and his sister, "either one of them's married or one of 'em's dead." without even thinking about it.  Turns out that both were true.  When I heard it on the phone, it didn't really phase me at first;  but as the evening has gone I'm more affected by it.  I guess I had just imagined, one day when he was in a better place in life and I wasn't working like a dog and a thousand miles away, that we would hang out again and would remember the good old days or something nostalgic.  I have a couple of old letters, and a pile of his old poetry and songs he wrote in either middle or high school, which I used to read through when I was writing in my room in BR, trying to capture his free form, his unabashed emotion and style.  I hope I can find that stuff, as I don't really have much else tangible of him.  I feel like a door has been closed hard in front of me and I will never know what was on the other side.  I was so foolish for not checking on him once or twice in the years, I would've been able to see that something like this was going to happen.  I don't know if I could've prevented it;  to be honest its possibility was obvious to anyone who knew him well.  But I would have tried. 

I'm sorry, Josh.