I write. I observe. I indulge in all things creative.You'll never know unless you ask....
As I was driving last night in the dark and in the rain back from my quiet and relaxing vacation, I had many thoughts festering. I’m really quite angry that I had to “read” that my friend was dead. Thank god I have Facebook or I wouldn’t know what’s going on in the world. I am by far a condoner of technology and the vast ways we can communicate, but for some reason, reading that yesterday made me livid. It isn’t the first time…I’ve found out about more births, deaths, and matrimonial blisses through facebook than in my actual lived life. Just as quickly as these announcements are made are the “let’s make it all better” comments. I like my grief served cold as it should be. Yes, I think Carter’s life is to be celebrated, but I want to feel it…the grief. Tragedies are tragic for a reason and I feel these things have a process.
The rain was beating down and the darkness was overwhelming at times. As I was trying to focus on the road and this heavy silence was present, I realized that I was saying goodbye to summer and to my friend. It was so sunny in South Carolina. I didn’t realize how much I had missed being in nature and the ocean did it’s therapy on me per usual. Then I had this to contend with, this sadness, this loss.
I met Carter when I was in high school through my new found punk rock friends. I was at a party and his voice was piercing my ears! Carter had this way of always just saying what he needed to say. It was as though if he didn’t he would lose all sense of being right then and there. He never sugar coated anything. Some people saw that as abrupt…I saw it as Carter. Sometimes the words coming out of his mouth were that of some crazed person and you just wanted him to be quiet and other times what came out of that mouth was absolutely brilliant.
There are many times I remember Carter. It was hard not to. HIs personality was large and at most times I found him to be jovial even when things weren’t going his way. I remember being at Ward and Amy’s wedding and him sitting there just sweating his ass off. As he was dripping with saltiness, he looked up at me and gave me such a warm hello (we hadn’t seen each other in a while) and told me how pretty I looked. He was always telling me how pretty I looked and always called me dear. I remember coming back from New York and had been living back in Richmond, for about a year, I walked into Globehopper and was in line when I heard, “Hello, Miss Jo Ann!” There he was, looking a little ragged and maybe hadn’t showered in a few days. I sat with him for a moment playing catchup and learned he had been going through a bit of a rough patch. There are times when I am not the best human being. I tend to zone out on other people’s problems easier than before Dan. There are times when I find that other people’s problems tend to be a plethora of complaints that are easily remedied. When Carter was telling me about his mishaps, I was genuinely concerned. I told him if he needed any help to feel free to contact me…and….I meant it. In turn, Carter told me how sorry he was to hear about Dan and if I needed anything to please reach out to him. There was a nice moment there between us.
You know when you are in the grocery store and you hear that song that reminds you of a moment in time that significantly changed your life or takes you back in time? I can’t hear ACDC without thinking of entering Rocknxs, because that song was ALWAYS on when I walked in there. Carter resembles that moment. Carter marks a time in my life when I was discovering new friends and a new lifestyle and hell, myself for that matter. He comes from a time when I had a core group of friends who understood loyalty. If someone messed with you, they messed with all of us. We were a group of people who had no qualms with being quite direct with each other. Most of us, from broken homes and some of us were just looking to belong somewhere we were understood. You don’t realize just how young you are at that time, but you definitely understood that your friends were your family.
Without Carter there wouldn’t be “that story of that guy”. Carter was color in my world. No matter when or where I’d see him, I knew it was going to be interesting and …. loud. I think in his adult life he knew this about himself and at times would apologize for his rants to me, but I always let him just animate the shit out of a story. He was always kind to me and I always wanted to mom him, but I realized that if I did, Carter would lose all that color.
As I’m driving down the road, which feels like absolute nothing, there is only silence and my thoughts and everytime something like this happens I keep thinking, “is this how it’s going to be now?” Earlier I listen to Tig Notaro and what she says about the clicheness of living for the moment or cherishing those people around you. Yes, as cliche as that may seem, I think a lot of people forget how much we are so intertwined with each other. Some people are consistent in our timelines and others are but a blip, but each and every person that’s there was there for a reason. Because I have experienced what I have in my life, I know the significance of understanding people’s presence in my life. I also know I don’t tell people enough how important they are to me in those facets. Things here are temporary and fragile and we take it for granted.
Although I’m experiencing new things in my life that are a bit out of my comfort zone, I know that I need to do it. Carter represented a part of me that was wild and free. He was always himself and I loved him for his deep honesty. He will be greatly missed, that color in my life. That loud, sweaty, man who always had a sentence starting with, “Did you know…”. No. Carter, I didn’t know but I’m glad you were there to enlighten me on such trivia. Thanks or coming into the pub and making people uncomfortable and keeping me company. Thanks for always having a story and thanks for being…you.
Fall is approaching and it is in this time I do a lot of self reflection. For all those I haven’t kept in close contact with, forgive me. It’s taken me a while to get my life back and I realized something very important during that time, life is to be lived as one wishes it to be realized. R.I.P. Carter Graham, you will be missed.