Many people in life come and go. And it's a little sad.
My best friend growing up was Blake. Our mom's were best friends and Blake was like a brother to me from baby-years onward. High school came though and we drifted apart. Blake was hanging out with all the cool kids, smoking pot, 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—Blake dropped out after a few semesters and and spent years jumping around from job to job but always surfing and smoking weed. I was mostly a decent student but always in tow 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.
Freedom. The sweet taste of freedom, paddling out to South Jetty, the warmth of the sun on my face bobbing up and down in the waves waiting for the next set to come in. Camping at The Secret Spot, one of the most special places that exists. 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 started chuckling to himself saying that the cows were talking to him. And on further question, admited that he could speak to animals.
As the years progressed, Blake became more and more mentally ill. He was hearing all kinds of voices: animal voices as well as what people were 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. Even though we haven't spoken in 3 years, he didn't miss a beat. "G, how are you?! It's been a while man."
He tells me what life is like in a mental institution stuff and other stuff that isn't real. For instance, that 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.