October 22, 2019

Picture With Drew

I continued to scroll through Drew's Facebook until I found a picture of the two of us wearing our cap and gowns on college graduation day, like the freeze frame of Julian and Clay leaning against each other at the end of Less than Zero. This might have been the first picture we took as UC Santa Cruz alumni—my arms around Drew, the first friend I made in college.

“Hey, my name is Andrew,” said the little guy who stepped into my dorm room. “I'm in the room two doors down.”

The two of us ate lunch in the dining hall with some other guy who was about as cool as an RA. By looking at each other Drew and I realized the other was Jewish. We established that both of us moved across the country during adolescence. We talked about sports and music and why we decided on Santa Cruz. I knew him for 20 minutes, but he was my best college friend.

I stare at the picture of us on graduation day and wonder why on the same day I graduated from UC Santa Cruz I'm wearing a tee shirt that says the University of British Columbia. It was as if it didn't matter to me where I graduated from as long as it was from somewhere. A few days after the picture was taken I would move to LA to become a comedian. Drew would move back to Minneapolis and travel and eventually teach English in Vietnam.

Drew wasn't the easiest person to be friends with in college. He lost my sunglasses, another time he spilled wine all over my carpet. I yelled at him both times.

When he visited me in Vancouver he lost his temper when I wouldn't walk with him to McDonalds when earlier I said I would. He drank too much, and wandered off from me and his other friends often. He was sloppy and indignant when he drank, but as bad as it got at times, his dark side only lasted so long.

I never thought I would look up to someone who was three inches shorter than me. He was someone I wanted to be like. I admired that he could fit into any social situation and relate to the richest or poorest of people. Girls loved him. He kissed more girls freshman year than in a night than most did in a year. He was a good tennis player who would make you run all over the court, and also a relentless poker checker on our floor hockey team. He played the guitar well, traveled to foreign countries and studied  Macro Economics and European History subjects that seemed well above me. He wore warm up pants more than anyone I've ever known. It was as though his whole life up to that point had been one long warm up for all of his amazing potential, for the person he was sure to become.

Drew died four years ago at the age of 23. He was my first friend who died. It was the worst and hardest tragedy to comprehend.

For those that knew him it's a comfort to see his Facebook is still intact. I can see him dressed as Frodo on Halloween and smile.  I'm thankful that someone took our picture together on graduation day. That picture is a reminder of what friendship means to me and how I must try harder to maintain the friendships I have.

I'm grateful that over thanksgiving I saw my old friend James who I hadn't seen much of since high school. I told him I didn't have a car and asked him to pick me he up. “I'm a 14 year old girl.” I explained. Along with our buddy Adam, we enjoyed a long night out in Encinitas that concluded with us relieving ourselves in the sand of Moonlight Beach.

This coming Saturday another old friend, Todd and I are going to our first minor league hockey game in Ontario, CA. Todd was my freshman roommate who I roomed with again my senior year until he was diagnosed with cancer. He bounced back and we are now playing golf almost every Saturday, albeit very poorly. 

My best friend in college, Aviv, moved to Israel a few years ago. Earlier in the week he told me via Gchat that he is moving back to California, the best news I've heard all month. I'm trying to recruit him to my soccer team even though he is moving to San Jose.

Then there are my best friends Brad and Zach from Pittsburgh, who I visited over the summer and am now trying to arrange a time we can all hang again in LA with our other best friend Eli who now lives in Venice. These are the same three that saw me off from atop Brad's driveway before my family moved across the country.

Other friends, like Ryan and Ben, with whom I shared a house for two years I don't see enough. I wish I talked more to my other college friend Lewitter and many others I've cracked jokes with over the years. I'm grateful I still have the opportunity to see these guys.

I just want more pictures like the one I have with Drew.