better now than at your funeral

isn’t that a great band/album name?

my friend, w, is in town from berlin. i’m madly in love with him. he is just about to turn 24, and has 7 years sober. he’s worldly beyond his years. much beyond his years. he’s traveled the world. his parents are artists and he’s just cosmopolitan in the best sense of the word. well-read, well-traveled, intelligent, thoughtful, outgoing *and* introverted, charismatic, and absolutely gorgeous in that wonderful combination of masculine/feminine that i completely love.

he’s just someone who is mature beyond his years and who i derive a great deal of pleasure from being around. not to mention he grounds me in a way i can’t really put words to. we can talk about music and spirituality and god and movies and relationships. sometimes we see exactly alike, and sometimes we don’t. all throughout, we are on the same journey and very, very different ones.

when he came to visit on this brief stay in chicago on his holiday from berlin, he told me that people kept saying that “he didn’t change at all.” he wasn’t sure how to take that; he seemed minorly offended by that. i told him that it was a great compliment. that i think especially as midwesterners that we might have had a secret fear that he’d go to berlin and get “all european” and forget all about us and who we were and what we were like and what we used to do. and when he came back and was his same old self, it was a comfort.

and he *was* just the same. it was like nothing had changed, like he had never gone away. and as i’ve said about so many other people, i often don’t realize how much i miss them until i see them again. and our friend had a party for him on saturday night, and as i saw all the people come in and say hello and wish him well and talk and laugh and be merry, i saw how absolutely well-loved he is. he has completely captivated so many hearts and minds in the best way.

i was telling this to another friend and i said, “well, better now than at your funeral.” because i guess i have this secret desire that all these people will come to my funeral* and have this party and tell stories about me and share rememberances and relish in what a friend i was or what they liked best about me or whatever. i’m afraid of dying alone, and i’m afraid of people forgetting me. i know that’s terribly vain. i know that it is. but i harbor the fears, nonetheless.

but as i looked around and saw all these people coming together to see w, i realized that it was in the NOW that i should be hoping to appreciate my friends and hopefully to have them appreciate me. not some weird fantasyland funeral with egotistical eulogies. that’s all.

*although, i did make two of my friends in college, dave and joel, promise that they’d come to my funeral and sing simon and garfunkel’s “homeward bound.” i wonder if they’d still do that if i died.

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