A friend of mine died in Saigon the other night. It’s one of the closer and more tragic deaths I’ve experienced in a long time. It’s still difficult to process, still muddy and far away feeling. But I was one of only a relative handful of friends who had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with him over the past few weeks. So in a way I’m much luckier than most. Though in our own ways we’ll all be doomed to replay over and over again a life that was much too brief and perhaps much too misunderstood. We’ll find for an undetermined amount of time small ripples that are leftover, imprints that can’t be shook or rubbed away. Like haunting shadows after a blast. We’ll find him in songs and at the places we eat. We’ll see him in undeveloped film. It will be bad for a long time, but to steal and misrepresent half a quote from Ernest Hemingway, “…you always know how swell life gets again after the hell is over”.
We’ll be flying down to Saigon for one night on Monday to attend a small service before his parents take him back to the US. It’s been a long time since I’ve been down south, and I wish it were under drastically different circumstances.