Many people in life come and go. And it's a little sad.
My best friend growing up was Blake. Our mom's were close friends and Blake was like a brother to me from the time we were both babies. We stayed close friends but drifted apart in high school—Blake was hanging out with all the cool kids, smoking weed, and all he wanted to do was surf. I never really fit in anywhere and spent lunches reading Harry Potter under a tree. College came and Blake and I started hanging out again. Blake dropped out of college, where he never really belonged, and spent years jumping around from job to job but always surfing and smoking weed. I was mostly studious but always chasing the next adventure with him. I'd ditch class and we'd load up our surfboards and head up Highway 1 toward Big Sur.
Countless adventures, memories I cherish. Freedom. The sweet taste of freedom. That's what I think of when I think back on those times.
Blake started acting funny at some point. The first time, we were driving past Hearst Ranch and he could hear what the cows were thinking. They spoke to him. He'd laugh at them like they were telling him jokes.
As the years progressed, Blake became more and more mentally ill. He was hearing all kinds of voices and he could hear what everyone was thinking. He started getting into trouble, getting arrested because the voices were telling him to take off his clothes in public. Stints in and out of jail, then in prison, then to a half-way house, then to the state mental hospital for a year, out for a time, and now, back in.
I just called him at the hospital. "Blakers!" Even though we haven't spoken in 3 years, he knew who it was right away. "G, how are you! It's been a while."
He told me all kinds of stuff, stuff that's not real. He's working on some very important stuff in the hospital, has $100k in funding, might be interested in giving me some of it. I cheerfully play along with everything. There's no sense in correcting him, I'm just happy to hear my friend's voice.
The call is ending, he tells me how much I mean to him and that he loves me. I try not to choke up, tell him the same, and the call is over.