Saying Goodbye to An Old Friend

I don’t even remember meeting him. It seems we were just always friends, a sort of mystery of middle school boyhood. But our friendship was short-lived due to geography and the wavering vicissitudes of life.

He was a kid I looked up to immensely, so our friendship was forged and defined by that adulation I had for him, that endless charisma and that mysterious quality that makes someone truly likable. Marc had it.

We came from different worlds and didn’t spend much time outside of school together, besides a few parties and social events that seemed so important to thirteen year-olds.

But when he talked to me, he was there, but fully there, like an older brother. I still remember getting in trouble for “disruptiveness” in math class with him. But we didn’t care.

The school year ended and sadly I had no idea that I would never see my friend again. I knew we were headed to different high schools, but I didn’t know that that August my family would decide to move from Phoenix to a rural town in Central Utah.

I remember coming home from my 8th grade graduation with a strange pall of melancholy. I didn’t know for what reasons, but I knew life would never be quite the same and it saddened me.

Months later I was in Utah flipping through my yearbook reading the words of my old friends, friends I knew I might not see again. Most of the entries were as unimaginative and impersonal as they come, wishing me a fun summer and congratulating me on another school year gone by. But Marc’s words at the bottom of that glossy  “autograph page” were different.

 

“T.C.,

Hey we’ve been through a lot. I don’t really know how to say bye. But next year show them Cortez monkeys how to bling-bling alright. I’ll never forget how funny you are. O.K. that’s enough sentimental shit. Hey keep it real and have a kick-ass summer.

M.D. Rappa’Lot (AKA Marc Dixon)

 

Fifteen years later Marc and I had talked very little, but we liked each other’s Facebook posts, exchanged numbers, and sent a few texts back and forth.

A couple years ago I noticed Marc had been diagnosed with cancer. It broke my heart, as I’m sure it did to countless others. I reached out to him, and never heard back. I figured he was sick and busy, and kept him in my prayers. His occasional posts were inspirational and made me want to fight harder for things in my own life, things I took for granted.

Then one unsuspecting Wednesday I got a Facebook message from a fellow classmate of Cholla Middle School, another person I hadn’t seen for nearly fifteen years. Georgia said,

 

“How are you doing? Been a while!”

“Hey I am doing great, thanks for asking. I know right? How are you?”

“Lost one of my closest friends, Marc Dixon. Been a rough year. He died hard and fast. But so painfully slow at the end. You knew him too I’m sure.”

 

I was taken aback being that I hadn’t heard anything about his passing. I knew he didn’t look great and his death was something that wasn’t far-fetched. But the moment I heard it, or rather read the news, my heart felt torn-up and deflated. Now I would most certainly never see him again.

Although death is inevitable and unspeakably terrible, it is part of life. To love is to lose. But I knew that I would see Marc in the next life. And I knew we would hug and weep for the lost time and smile at the eternities ahead of us.

Hundreds, probably thousands of people knew Marc better and loved him more than I could. But I’m thankful for him. I’m sad at the great loss, but I am a better man for having known him, and for having witnessed his fight.

“Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.”

~David Foster Wallace

marc
8th grade graduation. The last time I ever saw Marc.