Your battle with leukemia, and now, your journey to heaven have been weighing heavily on my heart. I’ll always remember you as a sarcastic, always-on-the-go teenager; as the only boy who ever broke up with me at that crucial young age and broke my heart.
I’ll never forget when my best friend Melissa and I first discovered you, Bryntly and Alex at Sparkles roller rink in the winter of 8th grade. Finding cute boys who were not attending our middle school was always a plus and made the flirting seem all the more exotic. I remember one of the first things you did was promptly LIE to me about your age. You claimed to be 14 and in 8th grade when you were actually 13 and in 7th grade. I do not think I would have minded knowing the TRUTH, especially since you are only 7 months younger than me and had already reached past the 6 foot height mark, which was crucial in my book at the time. (:
I partnered up with you and we “dated” off and on over the course of a year. I say “dated” in quotes because since we were not attending the same school, “dating” at that age mostly meant talking on the phone (which I don’t think any teen boy especially LIKES) and meeting up at Sparkles on the weekends. We also hung out at Bryntly’s house after he and his family moved right next to the middle school. That summer, we went to White Water and a 311 concert. The next school year, in Dec. 1997, I took you as my date to the 9th grade Poinsettia Ball (or something similarly named). I still have the photos taken on the front steps of my parents’ house and the formal posed photos from the dance.
But the “relationship” eventually deteriorated, as they tend to do for kids that age. You broke up with me, and since previous to you I had never had a guy “break up” with me (I always “broke up” with them), I was heartbroken. You made me a mix tape to express your feelings, and I wrote tortured poetry as teen girls tend to do, especially once I learned that you had moved on to date some of my friends. But eventually I got over it, and eventually we developed a friendship, albeit a bit strained — because your family moved and now you were at my high school, and I had started dating another boy in your grade, and well, he didn’t like you, and you didn’t like him.
Despite that, we still hung out occasionally. One time you came over to my house and I bleached your hair for you, of which I have “before,” “during,” and “after” photos that are quite hilarious. The summer after my freshman year of college, in 2002, I came home and we hung out a little bit. I took you and your best friend John to the movies one time because your Jeep had broken down. Little did we all know that your leukemia diagnosis would come just a few months later, around your 19th birthday.
Drew, I’ll always remember you for your twisted sense of humor, your magnetic energy, your great sense of style, and your love of music and the happiness it brings to us all. On the mix tape that you gave to me in 1998, you included a Bob Marley song, “Trenchtown Rock,” as covered by Sublime:
One good thing about music
When it hits you feel no pain
So hit me with music
Hit me with music now
Hit me with music, hit me with music
Drew, I know that you’re being hit with music and feeling no pain now, in heaven.
In memory of Drew
Sept. 13, 1983-Feb. 27, 2010