January 31st was my friend Austin’s birthday.
He would have been 44 years young.
He was a handsome man with an extraordinary spirit and the world was diminished when we lost him.
Part of me never understood why he was friends with me.
He was sexy, smart, and funny.
I was mixed up and struggling.
Not exactly the perfect match.
We went to high school together but he was friends with my sister.
It wasn’t until I kicked out posts on my blog unblunder that we connected.
My blog was his guilty pleasure.
He took me to have Ethiopian food at Zeni and I wore a long, white dress which I proceeded to drop Ethiopian food all over.
He was amused.
But I loved that we were so busy talking it took us 30 minutes to order our food.
And I loved that he let me eat with my fingers.
We also drove up Mt. Hamilton to a kitchy little restaurant and had BBQ.
I dressed more appropriately for that.
When I was on my Adventure kick, he joined me in the melee that was The Great Bull Run because I asked him to. He even recorded me running with the bulls from a safe position sitting on top of a 6 foot fence.
Like I said, he was smart.
I’m not sure I can share my favorite memory of Austin because it’s X-rated but it involved a little herb, some sheets, and a lot of friction.
Ironically, what Austin and I did have in common was grief. I’d lost a son to cancer and my BFF to murder. He lost a beloved girlfried to suicide.
We both knew what it was like to walk through life carrying burdens seemingly too heavy to carry.
I once told him, “When Douglas (my son) died of cancer, if I could’ve willed my heart to stop beating, I would have. I didn’t want to live.”
He replied, “They’re two different things – wanting to die and not wanting to live.”
And, as it turns out, they are.
Which is why I am here writing this post to him and he is resting peacefully.
P.S. I was able to find the video clips Austin sent me before he died. Still can’t watch them, but it’s nice to know they’re there when I’m ready.