"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, December 11, 2003
A Hole in the Universe
die Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: Middle English dien, from or akin to Old Norse deyja to die; akin to Old High German touwen to die
Date: 12th century
1 : to pass from physical life : EXPIRE
2 a : to pass out of existence : CEASE b : to disappear or subside gradually -- often used with away, down, or out
3 a : SINK, LANGUISH b : to long keenly or desperately c : to be overwhelmed by emotion
4 a : to cease functioning : STOP b : to end in failure
5 : what Bobby Waites did.
I think its time now to talk about Bobby Waites.
Or at least some of it, since he is going to weave in and out of these blog entries as I write them. I just want to cover the basic story here now. If you don't like sad things, skip to the next blog entry now.
First, Bobby, I now understand.
I am so sorry.
Bobby and I met when we were in ninth grade, I think. His family was the one that had started Wayne Miller's church in their living room, and he lived just down the street from the school. I had joined the Bible Club and was becoming active in the new church that Wayne was starting, called the Tabernacle. So was Bobby.
And hey, he played guitar, so we got along right away.
Bobby was a great guy. He had this caring and giving streak to him that was larger than life. I never saw him think a selfish thought, and I always saw him giving as deeply as he could.
We hung out a lot, mostly at school or at places where we both ended up. When they started the youth prayer breakfast at the Tabernacle we were the guitarists.
We complimented each other perfectly.
If you are not a musician, you don't know the bond that develops when you play music with someone. Both of you are, at that moment, literally working as closely together as two people can in order to create one thing. Each one is surrendering to the rhythm of the other, each one is enhancing the other, and the whole has a synergy greater than the two separate could ever achieve. Bobby and I had that bond when we played.
Another cool thing was that he played the violin, and played it pretty well. I only got to hear him a few times, but wow, he was awesome.
We also worked at the same campground at the beach in the summer after ninth grade. We hung out a lot there too.
And in 12th grade when my heart was broken worse than it ever would be before or after, he was there for me, helping me deal with it, even reading the Dear John letter for me when I could not face it.
That, to me, is what a friend should be.
Bobby, I knew you were always a bit moody, and there was a cloud that seemed to follow you. I simply did not know how bad it was, my dear friend. Other times you were so happy, so energetic, running so fast. I had no idea. No one did, Bobby, no one could have.
When I went to college, I had been a professional entertainer. I was going to perform, and needed a violin player. I looked at the phone and thought about calling Bobby, but didn't. And I had a real strong desire to all of a sudden, yet resisted it for some reason. There's always tomorrow.
That moment was one of the most important instances of my life. And I flunked the test.
Sometimes, there isn't a tomorrow. This was one of those times.
That night, Bobby was facing the cloud that had been following him. And he was losing.
Later, this is what I was able to put together.
Within the period of several days, Bobby had been dumped by his longtime girlfriend and also lost his job. That night, he had wrecked his motorcycle, his only means of transportation and something that really belonged to his father.
Bobby's father was nothing like Bobby. Where Bobby was meek and gracious, Bobby's father was proud and obstinate. Bobby knew that there was good reason to be afraid. Bobby wanted to please his father so much, and never felt like he measured up.
Bobby, how I know how you felt, my dear friend.
That night that I did not call, late in the evening Bobby walked down the street to a graveyard near his home. He went into the back, where the old graves were that no one ever visits anymore.
I can imagine that he sat there for some time in the darkness, and that cloud just ate him alive.
In the dark, he took the sleeping pills. And he sat there, resting against a cold gravestone like he probably had done so many times before, and left a hole in the universe.
Bobby, I am sorry I did not call. But you never told us how bad it was.
There is still a Bobby shaped hole in the world, my friend. There always will be.
You are missed.
Anguish of mind has driven thousands to suicide; anguish of body, none. This proves that the health of the mind is of far more consequence to our happiness, than the health of the body, although both are deserving of much more attention than either of them receive.
C. C. Colton