Wonder Boi Writes

Adios Paco

I’d known Paco for about 5 years, but we only saw each other every few months and we rarely had prolonged or deeply personal interactions. We drafted fantasy baseball teams together, we hung out at some of the same parties, we curled together both on the same team and as friendly bonspiel rivals. Paco was not a close friend, and yet in same ways I did consider him a good friend. He was the kind of guy that made you feel happy as soon as you saw him coming. He was the kind of guy that made me shout “Paco’s here!” before he’d even stepped on the ice. He was the kind of guy who could make me laugh even from the other side of the rink. I didn’t even have to hear what he’d said, I could just tell from his facial expression it was hilarious. He had an easy laugh, paired with a comedian’s timing, and a quick, self-deprecating sense of humor.

For a guy I saw maybe 3 or 4 times a year, I feel like we had more inside jokes or catch phrases than people I see every day. He could make me giggle just by drawing out “twenty-four” in a way that sounded more like “twernty-fer.” We could talk about Star Wars or sports or a team of assholes we’d curled against or the letter ñ or anything that amused us that day.

He had a story for every topic. And he was always game to go one more. One more round, one more game, one more drink, one more story.   It seems like every time I saw him, he invited me along for a drink, or said I could get in touch any time I was in Buffalo, we could do this or that, or join some sports league or another. And like I said, we weren’t even that close. After watching his facebook page today, it’s clear he made the same kind of offers to everyone he met. He was just that kind of guy. But I never once took him up on it. It was always too late. I was always too busy. I didn’t know him well enough to text him off the cuff. I just never did. And now he’s gone.

At 31 years old, he’s just gone.

There will never be another chance to go get that drink or play that game or do that completely random thing. We’ll never get to confess to each other whether or not we got choked up at the new Star Wars movie. I’m never going to rip on his fringe Mohawk stocking cap, or laugh at his butt crack showing when he’s in the curling lunge.   I’m never going to shout “Paco’s here!” again. I’m never going to get to tell him how much I enjoyed chatting with him or how happy it made me to bump into him unexpectedly.

All the clichés are running through my head. Life is short. Tell people you care about them when you have the chance. Take every chance. Live every moment. There’s no guarantee of a next time. It’s the same stuff you hear anytime something like this happens. You hear it all the time, but you know what? My not having anything new to add doesn’t make it any less true.

I am feeling all my regrets today. All the missed opportunities. All the friends gone before I fully understood their worth. All the times I swore I’d do better, only to end prioritizing bedtimes or housework over the chance to make a memory.

I didn’t know Paco well enough to know if he had the same kinds of regrets. He was a human, so he probably did, but I also get the sense that Paco squeezed more joy and all-around awesomeness into 31 years than most people could get out of two lifetimes.

I didn’t do my house chores this afternoon. I didn’t do my work chores either. I picked up my kid from school, got us a chocolate milkshake and some French-fries, and we ate them sitting in the hatchback of our car at driving range. We hit a bucket of balls. We shanked them, we sliced them, and we cheered wildly for the few that went far enough to beat our low expectations. Now we’re having frozen pizza for dinner even though there are fresh fruits and veggies in the fridge.

It doesn’t make a difference. Not really. Paco’s still gone and I will likely go back to freaking out over laundry by next week. There will be more losses and more regrets. But today, just for this day, I did what amused me, and I made a few memories to honor the memory of Paco.

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June 24, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. I am sorry for you Loss – did he have family? What happened?

    Comment by emlynchly | June 26, 2015 | Reply


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