Yesterday, my oldest friend passed away. Growing up, he was the first boy I actually thought was my boyfriend. He had and older brother and I had an older sister. The four of us played together often because his grandma lived next door to us and later we all lived on the same street. I remember my sister and I peeing in Dixie cups and tricking them that it was lemonade. Oh, so rotten, we were. Another night, we ran home in the rain and were hit by ball lightening. One day, he paid more attention to my sister than to me and I pushed him off the edge of the wall we were sitting on and he cracked his head. I can remember jumping on the bed at his house and getting in trouble because we weren't supposed to be doing that.
Most of all, though, my favorite memory of him was on Christmas Eve one year. His birthday was the next day and we were outside playing still. The sky was beautifully dark and full of the bright points of starlight. We were looking for Santa in the sky and then we were sure we heard him and each of us ran in the opposite direction back toward our houses. Last night, as I looked up into the glorious sky, I thought of him and that night sky so long ago. Yesterday, he died. I am not sure what lead to his death, but I do know that whatever it was it was bad. I pray for his soul and his peace. I pray for the daughter and son now without their father. I pray for his mother and father and brother. I pray for all of us who have a hole where he used to be.
He and I didn't see each other except in passing during our high school years. We both graduated early. We both joined the Navy. And then we reconnected. Thank you, Facebook, for the time with him I did get to know him again. Fair winds and following seas, Mark. Love you, dear one!