12 October 2011

Nate Dent

In the two years since Nate has gone, I've gone through three jobs, moved twice, got engaged....things are different. October is also different. Without even trying...Nate comes around without any effort. Without even thinking about Nate....I started trying a pompadour hairstyle. Then I look in the mirror all combed up and remember how Nate would wear his hair like that. Today at work, listening to my iPod I heard Rancid's version of "If the Kids Are United." It was only released on Give 'Em The Boot II and I remember Nate had already figured out the opening bass riff and was playing it when I went to see him. "It's not that hard," he said "Matt Freeman isn't really that great of a bass player. He just uses blues riffs." Kinda cocky. Kinda brilliant. Totally Nate. Love it!

I say love it because Nate is still very real for me in a lot of ways. I remember when Robert set up this blog and I had told him about the idea I had. It was to collect memories. I had so few memories of Nate that I started hunting for more. Writing them down. Asking other people who knew him for ANYTHING they could remember. And then I hit a road block. I ran out of memories. I was truly horrified and racing through my own brain trying to get Nate back in another way. I told a friend who had never met Nate about running out of memories. I was sobbing and his words were the wrong ones. Even if they were the right ones I doubt they would have consoled me. I mean....you can't remember anything else about your friend who is gone forever and you won't have a chance to make anymore memories of him? There aren't good words or right words. There are barely right things to do.

Today was oddly consoling because I'd forgotten about Nate playing that Rancid bassline. Two years later and I found a new memory.

I was listening to a Columbia University professor of physics talk about how we alter time through movement. How just by walking to the bus stop you are altering the very fabric of space. It's amazing. Robert and I usually talk or text around this time of year too. Robert mentioned how Nate had dented October. I think this might be literally true. If a person walking to a bus stop can alter space, then a person's total absence....especially someone as big as Nate (not just physically...but....physically too I guess) would absolutely dent space and time. However, this dent....it's not empty for me. Not completely anyway. The odd occurrences. Nate resurfacing in my memory with no effort on my part.....that sure is something magical. I walk around with small parts of him. Anyone who knows him did. Odd flits here and there. A thought. A look. A word. All the good things Nate was....he still is through people who knew him. It can't ever compare to him being alive and with us. It's still a good thing though. Am I calling it Heaven? Immortality? I dunno about all that stuff, but I know a good thing when I see it. A Nate dent? A dent left in the universe that was unique in all the ways Nate was unique? I think it's real.....and I'm glad it's here. I'd rather have Nate, but I'm grateful he left a dent for us.

Two Years

Two years ago today was Nate's funeral.  It was absolutely one of the most difficult, awful things in my life I've ever had to go through. He was so young, so good, so strong.  He was a solid constant in all of our lives, and his loss is still a profound shock.  I feel like I lost a brother, someone who I had planned on sharing more time with, more future with.   I think of him every day, and wish I could share with him everything that's happened since he left.  I wish he could tell me all the things he's been up to, the adventures he's had in the past two years.   He was such an impressive person, there's no doubt that he'd have done amazing things.

After the wake and the funeral two years ago, I had a hard time leaving.  When I closed my eyes I'd be standing by Nate in his coffin, or helping to push him into the hearse, watching it drive him away.  It was more terrible than I'd ever thought it could be. I felt defined by my grief, by what had happened to my friend, my brother, to the details of his death and the injustice of the whole thing.

But I've since been able to step back from Nate, my Lost Friend, the one we saw in our black suits and pinned flowers.   Lately when I close my eyes, I'm with him the last time I saw him alive.  We made plans for when we'd see each other again, play music, maybe another game of paintball.  We hugged like family and parted ways.

His life is what defined him, what helped to define all of us.   I'm glad to leave today to two years ago.  Let it stay there.

I miss you, Nate.  We all do.