The last night I ever saw my best friend alive-it was 9pm at a fraternity party at The University of Arkansas, and I was standing there in the front yard backing away from him because I needed to finish a run.
18-years old- my first week of college- he was visiting with his parents on his way to University of Mississippi.
Linds, he pleaded, reaching out for my shoulder. Just stay. Christ, you don’t need to run so much.
I’ll be back, I’d laughed – windshorts hitting my leg. I’ll run home and change and I’ll come back.
But it’s my only night here, he sputtered– yelling down the hill with a red solo cup in his hand– his shorts hanging at the knee. Promise you’ll come back?
Maybe, I’d waved, smiling. I’ll call Riley.
But I was gone before he answered–running. Running because I’d eaten 3 bowls of Special K Fruit N’ Yogurt. Running because I was scared and the ED voice was screeching– And in the end, I didn’t go back.
Scared of calories, scared of loss of control, scared of losing my underweight frame- I texted him.
Goodnight, I wrote, Have fun with Riley–
I met him in the morning– a letter in hand. I love you, I whispered, pulling him close.
Love you too, he mumbled– Because he didn’t know how to be mad.
Don’t be upset, I grinned. I wrote you a letter, didn’t I?
He took it from my hand. I wish you had come back, he said, before turning to get into his parents car.
See you later- drive safe, I waved as he and his parents pulled out of the parking lot– my best friend in the middle seat– his backpack with my letter.
I’ll see him soon–I thought- I’ll make it up later.
And then you– my best friend– who carried me to bed when I fell asleep on the couch.
One month later– you pretty little boy– You fell from a tree, and you died.
8 years later I will always regret not spending that night with you.
Happy 27th Birthday Bradley Jameson- You are so loved and missed! Made that video above 6 years ago, and the only thing I’d change is some of my weak grammar. Love to you, your fam, and our friends that made this video (and the hours of film I still have somewhere in my parents house) possible.
Eating disorders kill, it’s true; but they kill your memories before they ever kill you.
that you’re thinking about it now like you thought about it then.
That you’ve been thinking about it–
Like you thought about it every day of every hour till you were so tired of it that you shelved him.
I’m bored with you, you screamed one night.
I grieved you all out best friend.
And now you just have to be dead–
You’re crying now–that feeling like you can’t sit gnawing at your side.
Stop this, you think.
You’re crying and you don’t know what to do.
What can you do?
You had 6 years, you think.
You had 6 years.
And the last time you saw him- the last time you felt his hand in yours- it was 9pm at a house party, and you were standing there in the front yard, backing away from him because you needed to finish your run.
You see his face, remember his eyes. The way they catch yours when you weren’t looking for them. When you can’t look up.
“Linds,” he says, reaching out for your shoulder. “Just stay.”
“I’ll be back,” you laugh – your windshorts hitting your leg with the breeze. “I’ll run home and change and I’ll come back.”
You turn to go down the hill then– back to the sidewalk, your tennis shoes reflecting off the street lights.
“You’ll come back when you’re done?” He asks– yelling down the hill with a red cup in his hand– his shorts hanging at his knee.
Maybe, you wave, smiling. I’ll call Riley.
But you are gone before he answers–running.
Running because you ate 3 bowls of Special K Fruit N’ Yogurt.
Running because you are scared–
That no one will want you.
And when you’re done, you don’t go back.
“Goodnight,” you text, “Have fun with our friends–”
You meet his family in the morning–letter in hand.
Slip it into his backpack as you hug him goodbye.
I love you, you whisper– pulling him close.
Love you too, he says– Because he doesn’t know how to be mad.
Call me when you’re settled– Your friend pats him on the back, gives his mother a nod. Thanks for coming, glad ya’ll stopped on your way.
And you agree–though you can feel his eyes when you say it.
See you soon, you wave as they pull out of the parking lot– your best friend in the middle seat– his backpack with your letter.
You’ll see him soon–you know–you’ll make it up later.
And then you– my best friend– you carried me to bed when I fell asleep on the couch.