Posted: Wednesday, July 4, 2012 5:38:28 AM
“I like this song.” “You know it’s about Biggie’s death, right?” “Oh.” I always tended to jam straight to the melody while dismissing the actual lyrics of the song. Diddy’s “I’ll Be Missing you” was no exception. Regardless, I was still in a good mood at that moment. There we were, Raye and Darian, sitting in a dark bowling listening to 1990s music. This was part of the good-bye celebration for me. A group of friends were initially at Chuck E Cheese to relive our childhood celebrations, but we got kicked out when Darian refused to rearrange furniture he didn’t actually move. I didn’t mind that we didn’t get to stay long enough to eat pizza. After all, who could say they got kicked out of a children’s indoor playground? After one game, I sat next to Darian to observe others hone their bowling skills. We didn’t speak much, but we were comfortable sitting in silence without feeling pressured to entertain each other. Listening to music was also part of our friendship. I liked the mainstream stuff; he introduced me to underground treasures.
I took that night for granted. I left for my four-month stay in Canada after that celebration. I wouldn’t see Darian again until a year later. I also wouldn’t see him the same way. He looked completely different with a significant weight loss when he visited me at school. “How did you spend our birthday?” he asked. “I went out with my girl friends. You?” “I spent it at the hospital—again.” He explained how doctors kept misdiagnosing him, leading him to have more physical complications and more visits to the hospital. It saddened me that I wasn’t there for him during his trials. “Just sit next to me,” he said when we went to sit on a bench outside. There we were again, sitting, listening to music on his red iPod, cracking a few jokes, and enjoying the company. I didn’t know how long we were there, but those were the last hours of just us together like that
I saw him randomly over the next year—at the grocery store, fast food joints, anywhere people normally bumped into each other. Although he looked healthier, the truth was the opposite. Two years passed and many things changed. I was studying for my preliminary examinations for my first year of graduate school when I found out about the news through Facebook. He was gone. In the midst of disbelief I suddenly remembered all the moments we had together: the band concerts, the endless late-night chats, the sports events, the moments with the red iPod. . . My elementary school enemy/high school best friend was now gone. Four years ago I never would have thought I would listen to the lyrics of Diddy’s song carefully. Next to my Facebook page was Youtube. I looked up the song and listened with every word counting: “Thinking of the day, when you went away. What a life to take, what a bond to break, I’ll be missing you . . . “