but 4 months ago my, I guess you could say my first best friend, the friend I have had the longest and who therefore was still very dear to me even though we had not spoken in about 2 years. But my once mightiest of friends, Eric, succumbed to cancer earlier this year(its amazing the mail ever got to me at all actually). He had beaten it(or so we thought) & I really thought we were past this whole cancer thing in his life as well. And now poof he is just gone, or in all actuality he was long gone, but I just found out yesterday. He was only 38. He seemed so strong again when I last saw him in 06. I should have called him right before Christmas like I did for the mainly years we spent apart since those now forgotten days at East Whittier Middle School back in the mid 80s and the others after that.
Yep, must have been the summer of 83 when we first met, well, met is not really the right word, more like he was just riding his bike & minding his own business at the bottom of the street, Strub Avenue, that I had just moved into with my pregnant with twins mom, step dad, and 2 year old little brother.
And bam! I come crashing into him from up the street. I had been hurtling myself down the street(which sloped downward) just to see how fast I could go.
Thats how we met twenty seven years ago, and that moment could have been a second ago for me. I never rode down that street without looking to see if someone was coming along the one underneath. Or how amazed I was when the kid I had just crashed into got up almost before I did and did not seem overly concerned about his own injuries but instead was asking me if I was alright then looking to his bike. That was Eric to a fault, selfless in the extreme. Here I was worried that I had hurt some other kid my first day in the new neighborhood, but Eric was indestructible even then, already tall, the first of my "tall guy" friends. Strike that, he did not just happen to come first, he was the model on which all other ones were "based". Tall, tough, quiet around most, but always one good for a laugh. Jesus Christ, he's gone now, no more chapters to add to our friendship, the early years together in Whittier, then seeing each other every once and a while during our high school years, where he lived even further down behind the "Orange curtain" than I. Til finally we lost touch when he moved up to some place I had not really heard of in 1989, Victorville. Then came the miracle of just happening to be standing behind him in line to register for classes at VVC like 4 years later. He was always there for me I felt, I really do not know what I gave him in return, fuck man, I should have called, I should have gone back up to the farm again, or something, the fucker cant be dead, shit, fuck, damnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!