Today would have been your thirty-third birthday. This makes me think back to our last conversation we ever had. I often think back to that conversation. I was about to turn nineteen and I remember we were talking about palm pilots of all things. My cousins went in together and bought me one for my graduation gift. Remember when palm pilots were a thing? I look at it now as the first step toward smartphones. I really wanted to get into using it instead of paper planners. You were saying how you wanted one so you could become more organized. You wanted to be organized and join the air force. You felt it was the right place for you to be and that it would help you become the man you wanted to be. I encouraged this and told you that you could do anything you wanted to do, be anyone you wanted to be. I always believed that about you.
About a month ago an old song came on my iPod while I was showering. Carmen Rasmusen’s Photograph. This song is technically about a couple who have broken up, but sometimes lyrics can hit you a certain way no matter the subject matter. And when I heard Looking through the glass I can see our past and I want you back in my photograph I thought of all the insane pictures I still have floating around somewhere of you. Of everyone. The truth is I lost it. Full blown bawling toward the end of my shower. Tears I could not shut off even after the departure from the bathroom. My mini breakdown was so bad that my dad got up to hug me once I finally put on my pajamas and walked into the room with him. He threatened to get rid of all the songs, shows, and movies that make me cry. And through tears I laughed and saID don’t forget about the books.
I can’t help but continue to think about you, especially today. Yesterday as I put in the date 10-17-17 for today on a document I was preparing for work today, I thought of you. Instead of feeling happy I just felt this weird knot in my stomach. I felt sorrow. I thought back to that song and realize I want you back. I want new memories. I want you to give me thirty-four Chris dollars next year for my birthday. In fifteen more years you would be able to give me a whole roll of pennies and I would pretend that I was rich with my tiara on. My cousin started that when I turned twenty-one by the way. Thanks to Tiffany I think I need a tiara every year on my birthday. I feel you would at least find this humorous even if you happened to think I had lost my mind even time I placed that tiara on my head. Our birthdays seem to be when I think of you the most. Maybe this has to do with you saying you would see me soon around my own and just like that you were gone.
My Freshman year I was walking around on campus and saw something that made me think of you. I remember thinking to myself ‘Oh I have to call Chris.’ I don’t remember what I wanted to tell you exactly, but I stopped in my tracks on the way to the science building. I stood there for a second before practically running to the building. I got in a corner and I called my mom. She told me to tell her what I wanted to tell you. I told her it wasn’t the same, but she said you would have wanted me to tell somebody. She was right. I hated that she was right. For some reason it felt wrong that you weren’t that person.
I hate that we had that period of disconnect. I’m so glad that our friendship found its way back. I can’t imagine it any other way now. I remember you signing my yearbook with something similar. I will probably go and dig it out soon rather than later. I tend not to dwell on the disconnect of that because of your words. Plus, friendships has its ups, downs, and even lulls. That much I have learned over the years. I can say that I made sure that you had a memorial balloon at our high school graduation. It was our tenth year reunion, but technically the eleventh year. Yes, I know that sounds weird, but it’s complicated and was great!
You should know today on your birthday, I imagine you in one of three scenarios. One is that you would be Tommy’s roommate and together you both would have nearly caught yourselves on fire this fourth of July. Two is that you would have a little girl and a wife. I don’t know why I see you having a little girl, but the thought makes me smile. And third, which is kind of part of scenario one and two, is that you would have entered the air force. For some reason with all the advancements I could see you having entered into the cyberspace part of the protection for our country.
With this in mind, I want you to know that I miss you Chris. I miss you so much. And I hope that you are having the best birthday ever while blasting Brass Monkey all extra loud. Say hi to my mom please and get her to give you a hug from me today. Oh, and I guess should make it official. Happy birthday Tuffer.
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