This friend had lived a life of sadness. Not all the time, mind you, just most of the time. Just when things started to turn his direction, something awful would happen. We all know these people. Their mind never lets them get a break. Everything is just blah. That was my friend. And it's funny because for the life of me I just can't seem to remember what was ever so bad. There was trouble. Alot of it. But now, from my vantage point of being here, and he being wherever he is now, none of it ever had to be that bad. I don't understand and don't know that I ever will understand how things get so bad that it's easier to be dead than to be alive.
But, over the last day of trying to remember how we met, back when I was 14, to where it all started to go wrong for him, I thought of all the good times. Like when no one liked us, so at night we would go sit in the Presbyterian Church parking lot with the sunroof opened in your car and look at the stars...remember that? Or what about the time that I (and yes, I'm finally taking full responsibility for it) invited that homeless guy up on the porch to have a beer with us? Or even better, all those New Years Eves....how many did we spend together, 9? 10? I remember exactly where I was when you called to tell us that you were a "proud Papa"...I remember all the times that I called you cartersmarterfarter and all the times that he called you Howard...and how mad you would get about it (the Howard part, not the farter part), and the best...when i rode that bike around Brian's house (the inside, not the outside). Remember drinking beer with my dad, and he would talk (in his Boston accent) about how Kennedy was a bastard ("Kennedy, that bastad!")I remember all of those talks that we had...you always knew when I was upset about something and you always knew that I should have been treated better. You just knew. And I'm glad that I've got all the memories to keep. I know you've got a lot too. I am certain that there will be so many people there tomorrow. They'll all have their own memories too. It's so sad to think that you had so many friends, but in the end felt so very lonely. It didn't have to be that way, but we can't change that now.
For now, I am hoping that you have finally found that happiness that you never found here. I hope that you have already met up with some of our old friends and are telling them the stories of where you've been. Tell Rod that I'm still not a model even though I still have "the all American Girl face"...sheesh...nice try, huh? But really, I do feel that you are better off now. That you have no more pain and no more suffering and you can truly be happy now.
I'm not going to lie, when I saw you a few months ago you looked bad...I know I know...you were sick, but I just didn't get a good feeling about you then. And when he called yesterday to tell me what happened I was worried that I would forever have engrained in my mind that feeble face that I saw a few months ago. And then I found this picture, and I rememebered the old Carter. The one who found some big smiles for a short time. And this is the Carter that I am choosing to remember...by the way, look at the date...it was New Years Eve 1999. Remember how we rushed around to get money out of the ATMS because of Y2k?? And we couldn't get any...it didn't matter...we still had enough money to get me drunk enough to run up and down the streets singing "It's great to be a Florida Gator!"...yeah, I know it was in Alabama...give me a break....
Finally, I don't want to go tomorrow. I don't want to have to say bye. I don't want to have to acknowledge that never again will my cell phone ring because your phone "accidently" called me. I just don't want to do it. I will though...because that's what 30 year olds do. We become thankful for the things that we have, and stop grieving for the things that we don't.
So Carter Carlton Smith, I'm so very thankful that I could call you my friend.
P.S. To all of my blog friends, I promise that next week will be better. I've got a doctors appt on Wednesday and lets all keep our fingers crossed that he will let me start running, even just a little. Going through this week without being able to run is horrible. I'll be back next week to catch up with you guys and have fun stories of the 4th! I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th!