I am a mash up of emotions today. I have swung between wonderful and very exciting emails with my editor to crying at the sudden loss of an old friend. I guess that is life, it doesn’t arrange itself very neatly, does it?
Last night one of my best friends in the world, Andrew, called me to tell me that a mutual friend of ours from about 20 years ago was suddenly killed in a tragic accident. I felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach when his words sunk in. I was hearing what he was saying, but it was not computing, not registering. Then, literally, all of a sudden, I felt the air escape me as I realized what he was saying, who was gone from this world. I had not seen Troy in so many years, about 17 or 18. Why was this hitting me so hard? I didn’t sleep last night thinking about him and that he was gone.
We were friends for about 2 years – he worked where I did at a part-time job at Blockbuster – when they had actual stores, not just kiosks. I was in college and this was my college job, I had actually gotten it my senior year of high school and kept it when I was home on college breaks and summers. The memories I have of working there are priceless. That job saved me. I was living in a town I hated in a state I didn’t care for, biding my time until I could get out. And suddenly, there was this job that had these amazing people to work with and I found myself smiling for the first time in months and months. That was where I met Andrew. Then Troy. We literally laughed our way through our shifts, watching movies and perhaps making fun of a customer. Or ten.
After work we went downtown to clubs to dance or back to someone’s apartment to hang out. In the summers it was at Andrew’s apartment because it had a pool – which I find it hard to believe we never got kicked out of. If it was not there, it was at various downtown Dallas clubs where we danced until way too late – not sure if any of us danced very well, but we laughed the whole time. God, we had fun. Troy was always the one who was always smiling, always up to go out, to laugh with us, to pick up the tab far too many times because he loved to be that guy. He loved to be the guy that made sure everyone one was having a good time. He was one of the most generous people I can ever remember knowing – except maybe Andrew.
Andrew and I dated for about 9 months back then and we still always hung out with Troy. The three of us just loved to hang out together. He was there when there was a break-in at Andrew’s apartment and we showed up at 2am on his doorstep. He let us sleep there without hesitation. He was there when I got on stage to (perhaps slightly inebriated) sing Margaritaville to a bar full of people. I am sure I was as awesome as I remember. Troy was there, with Andrew and my older sister, Jen, rooting me on and clapping. He was there at the Halloween party (I think he hosted it actually – I recall he loved Halloween) that Andrew convinced me to go as…well, this is a child-friendly blog, so you will have to message me about that one. I think Troy had the pictures to prove this story, but I never did see them. I also recall both Andrew and Troy trying to embarrass me in many other circumstances, but I am not too easily embarrassed – luckily. We were always having fun, always laughing. Always. There is not one memory I have of Troy where he is not smiling or laughing.
Troy made the world better. He made sure those around him were always happy and smiling and if you weren’t, he did something about it. It is amazing to me that I can have so many wonderful and quite vivid memories of someone that I just was around for 2 years and had not seen for almost 20. I can still hear his voice, quite clearly, in my head. I guess that is the best testament of a life well-lived – to have such an impact on people, even if the time together was brief. Troy’s life was cut way too short, way too early. I can only imagine that if I am feeling the grief I am for this man, there are others reeling from it. For them I am so, so sorry. The loss is great and I promise to never forget him. I love you, Troy, I hope you are at peace.