Tuesday, January 25, 2011

To Nathan Allen Ball

I feel like I could write a book for you right now.  I remember being 16, a Band Aide for all the drummers in 7th/8th grade.  I can't remember when you turned from one of the "little kids" I had to teach into one of my closest friends, but by your freshman year and my senior year we had some undeniable connection that neither one of us really understood . . . until not much later when we both came out of the closet!

I remember your notes, your quote collection, the songs you sang, the fact that you never stopped liking cartoon movies, the times I went to your house and even your church.  And I'll never forget the time I rode my bike and you walked and we met half-way between our houses out in the middle of nowhere and sat under the trees, surrounded by bright yellow and red autumn leaves, and hung out.    I think playing the drums helped us both transform from insecure, awkward kids into people with more confidence, because we had proof that we were good at something.  I knew you had a rough past, but I always thought things were going to get better for you. 

We were in and out of contact after high school, then lost touch for 5 or 6 years, but I'm glad we found each other again.  I thought last February was the beginning of a new start for us, not the last time I would ever see you.  When you went to the hospital in May, I should have tried to see you immediately.   I will never stop thinking I could have and should have done more to be there for you. 

I keep thinking of you singing "Somewhere Out There".  I wish in your darkest hour you would have pictured me singing that with you, called me, called anyone, done anything except end your life.  I still don't know all the details, and probably never will. I wish you hadn't done it.  Yeah, sometimes I feel mad.  And exhausted.  I lost my Mammaw and Dad last year.  And now you?  It can't be possible.   You have broken my heart.

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