Today sucked. No flowery words nor eloquent prose can make it sound any different…It just sucked. Today I looked down at my friend in a box…a box he will never climb out of. Brian Slater, a mere 34 years old, is gone. He has rid himself of his demons and left all of us. We have lost a friend, brother, son and a good person… but we have all gained a guardian angel. If there is one thing no one can ever deny about Brian…he cared… about us all.
I don’t know too many people with more charm, charisma and passion than Brian. I wasn’t by any means Brian’s longest friend… nor even his best friend. We fell out of contact over a year ago. But I recently sent him a text. I felt the need to reach out. From what I can gather, I sent the text the day he took his own life. I don’t know why I sent it. Something told me to…be it fate, karma, premonition, intuition, call it what you will. SOMETHING made me text him. I never received a reply.
Brian and I didn’t know each other very long. We were acquaintences for a bit. I was married. He had a longtime girlfriend. We hung out every now and again. A party here and there…Super Bowl at his house, etcetera. Then one day, everything changed. I was going through a divorce. Brian was coming out of a break up and a bad time….and he sent me a message. I still have it , “Vic, when are we gonna sip some single malts and talk like men!”
A simple sentence like that started an eight month run of seeing each other almost every day. We were no longer acquaintances. We became brothers. We spent days at Professor Java’s talking business and women, and nights going out failing miserably with women (me much more than him). We went to movies, ate dinners at each other’s houses, spent time with his parents Jamie and Barb (nothing makes a Sicilian feel more honored than a Irish family breaking bread with you).
We posted inside jokes, we thought were hilarious, on each other’s facebook walls and had a routine down that the Marx Brothers would have been proud of. We made sure we did something every night of the week. I am pretty sure I can never listen to “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 without thinking of him. Brian performed it at every karaoke place we could find for months … and he nailed it…every time. We saved each other from despair, laughed a LOT and just enjoyed life
Something happened after months of being together…the demons crept back in and I started to lose my friend. We lost touch. I hadn’t spoken to Brian for a while … until today. I spoke to his lifeless body. Struck by the finality of it all, we are all going to ask the questions, Why, How Come, What if, Could I, Maybe, If only? But in the end, this is the end and we will always be left without answers. The mind cries out for this to make sense, but it won’t. The heart wants to understand, but it can’t. My hope is that Brian is happy, free of his burdens, lifting a pint and singing his head off!
Good doesn’t always triumph over evil. I find evil tends to win unless good is very very careful. In the fight for a good mans soul, the demons won this time…and it fucking sucks! I will miss you my friend. When we meet again … let us sip single malts and talk like men!