Rest in Peace Old Friend
My friend passed away recently and we’ve decided to do a memorial for him. Here’s what I’m going to (attempt) to read:
I met Austin in stages. I was aware of him in Middle School, but we didn’t have classes together. In High School, he came to the forefront because there were so few of us. We became friends when our science teacher assigned me to sit next to him. I disrupting class sitting next to my friend and the teacher thought it’d shut me up. What this teacher couldn’t predict was Austin’s social intelligence. He didn’t care that I was a bubbly jock and sometimes ditzy. I immediately started getting in trouble again because he’d make me laugh so much. I still have a tenuous grasp of Biology…
We were unlikely friends, but he changed my life trajectory forever. He helped me to choose the harder, less traveled road and set me on the path that brought me to today and I will always be thankful. It sounds silly, but he gave me a makeover and encouraged me to pursue writing and art. He helped me to see where my true passions lie and that it’s ok to be more than one thing.
We’d fallen out of touch, which I regret, but I don’t think you can ever really lose Austin. Over all the years, I can still vividly picture and hear him. He was so delightfully odd and theatrical that it’s seared into my memory. Half of the time it seemed like he just did things to get a rise out of people, which made him our unofficial ring leader, at least in my mind. He’d think up the most creative ways to cause trouble and we never tired of it. Our pranks were mostly good natured, we’d play pranks on our teachers, who always tolerated us because we were good kids. We once did a school project in front of our teacher’s house. When we presented it, she didn’t even realize we’d done the whole video at her front door. We loved to mess with the staff at Dion’s, maybe because Blake worked there or because the pizza was so tasty. We’d pay for our pizzas in pennies, unscrew the lids to the pepper flakes and set up the Parmesan to go everywhere when they bussed the tables. He had a particular fondness for trying to lick eyes for a while. He was obsessed. He finally succeeded and I was forced to let him do the other one to get my vision even again.
I always pictured him as an emcee at some twisted 3-ring circus, top hat and tails under the lights, so I hope that’s where he is, directing a dancing menagerie of monsters under a big striped tent.