It wasn't like he was my favorite person or my best friend. I remember him as the boy with the duct tape on his hands as a method against warts. I remember him as being there, always being there.
I remember he was one of two people I knew in my first theatre class in high school. But we'd never talked in elementary, and I believe he went to a different junior high, so there was nothing more than his face and name that held memory. I remember I sat and listened to questionable conversations at our table, and he'd get up and move. He'd leave the uncomfortable moments. I remember he was kind-hearted. I remember he was Polonius in our comedic rendition of Hamlet. I remember wondering how this quiet person could do theatre. I was so caught up in discovering myself that I failed to acknowledge the existence of others beyond their existence. His memory was still a name and face.
I remember him with dark makeup on his face, playing a Puerto Rican, the equivalent lesser part to my role as a Jet Girl. I remember I didn't see him much that year; I guess that's the problem with large musical casts and different sets of friends, different places to fit in.
I remember he changed. He wasn't the quiet shy boy who had duct tape on his hands. He'd been altered. I remember on my off-nights in Cinderella I played his wife in every villager scene. I remember we sculpted a life our characters lead: we were cannibalistic back woodsmen who didn't eat our daughters because someone had to help chop the wood and sell it in town. We also marketed decapitated squirrels and carried axes.
I almost bought us prop axes just to complete the truth to our illusion, to extend it into the reality of the audience instead of something we joked about between ourselves as we hungrily eyes the dancing villagers and their children.
I never bought the axes, but I told him I thought about it.
I always kind of regretted I hadn't.
I even tried to get him to ask me to the prom. I knew no one else would, what would it matter if he did or didn't?
He didn't, but I didn't really expect him to.
He always had some comment to make on my Facebook updates, or just liked them at least. Sometimes his personal posts seemed obnoxious or over-bearing, but I could never bring myself to remove him from my news feed. He was doing different things with his life than all my other friends. I liked seeing the diversity of people. It became common practice for me to see what he'd written.
But the Lord saw it was time to take him from my Facebook feed, time to take him from this existence and call him home.
I can't comprehend why I feel so sick and so sad over his loss, other than perhaps, as distant of acquaintances as we were, he is the closest person I've ever had pass. As few disjointed memories as we share, he was there. He was always there.
And having to comprehend that that was the last, that I've lost another Facebook correspondent--another friend, is something I'll have to learn to cope with.
To Bruce Droge, for being there and being himself, as quiet and small an impact he made, he made one. He was there, and I remember him.
Goodnight, sweet prince, as flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.