This is one of the most difficult things I ever written.
November 21, 2005, Monday - I recently learned that a close friend died from cancer. Taylor and I didn't know he passed away. It hit Taylor very hard; he still loves Robert.
I heard someone threw pennies at my door. I knew it was Taylor to get my attention. I went outside to let him in. The moment I saw him, I mentioned Robert told me to tell him to call him.
I saw Robert one last time on Halloween at APLA. I just got my monthly bus pass. I walked down the hallway. Someone called out my name. I looked up. I didn't recognize him at all. It was a huge shock to see Robert that way. I didn't expect to see him. Robert was in a wheelchair. He was in bad shape. He revealed his baldhead; he under went chemotherapy this past few months. At first, I didn't want anything to do with him. I couldn't face him like that way; I think Robert sense that. It was all over my face. It was hard to talk and face him. I haven't seen him over a year. He was walking, good looking, and muscular. He wasn't that way any more.
We chatted for a while. He wanted my phone number and email again. He mentioned he would call me soon; I will do the same. We never call each other on the phone or an email. Now, I wished I had or sent an email. I will have told him that I haven't see Taylor yet. I will have go over there with Taylor to see him. Then, I waited for him in the lobby, playing Dig Dug. I was such a mess. I felt bad about my old friend. Robert came to the lobby. We exchanged phone numbers/email. He thought I didn't have the same phone number/email.
We chatted more. He asked about Taylor. I haven't seen him in a few months. That's Taylor for you. He doesn’t keep in contact with me every week. Taylor couldn't get in touch; he lived with a fellow he took care of this year. It took up most of Taylor's time. Robert asked for a big favor - tell Taylor to call him. I was surprised to hear that. They haven't talk to each other in a long time. Now that I think about it - Robert wanted to talk to him one last time; he knew his time was ending soon. It didn't occur to me at that time.
Out of the blue, Robert brought up the $200. I was quite surprised he remembered. I gave him that money over two years ago. He mentioned he would pay me back soon. At first, I didn't want the money back. He doesn’t have to pay me. He needs his money more than I do. I can't go ahead and take the money back from him. It didn't felt right.
Robert mentioned that a nurse lived with him; that made me quite happy. At least, he had someone to look after him. Forget about Sean. They weren't on speaking terms any more. Sean started a rumor; Robert shoots up every day. Thus ending the friendship between them. I didn't know that Sean could be so mean and cruel. I only saw the good side of him. Robert took him in few years ago; Sean has no place to live. Out of the kindness of Robert's heart, Sean moved in with him. Robert mentioned that he would move to a two-bedroom apartment in Silverlake with his nurse. That made my day. Robert will be closer to me; I lived in Silverlake too. I can go there any time. I can help out once in a while.
From what I saw, Robert enjoyed being in the wheelchair; he had lots of fun. He mentioned that he would run them over if they don't get out of the way. LOL. We went to the subway. I offered to go with him to pick up his medication; he declined - he just wanted time alone. He doesn't get out that often. I wondered how he leaves the apartment. The building does have steps. He told me that friends would help him out of the building. I left him on the train; I got off Santa Monica. That was the last time I saw him.
Taylor finally called Robert. A lady answered the phone; Julie didn't know who Taylor was. Taylor explained that he met her with Robert at the gay center; they picked up his medication. One time, Taylor told me that; Taylor thought Julie was his niece. Well, Robert told me that she was his nurse! LOL. She sounded strange on the phone; Taylor asked, "What's wrong?" Julie revealed that Robert passed away last Thursday, one week before my birthday on Thanksgiving. Taylor broke down, crying. We couldn't believe that Robert died. They continued talking on the phone.
Taylor wanted to come over to Robert's place. Julie thought it was a great ideal. Taylor needed some kind of closure. I offered to go with him. After all, I need closure too and Robert's place was a good place to start the healing and talking with Julie.
Robert and I basically came from the same background - we both have alcoholics for exes and we became homeless because of them. Neither Sean nor Miguel will stop drinking alcohol; some people don’t want any help whatsoever. We met at Path and became very close. Robert helped me a great deal about the dreadful ex. He was a good friend. He was there for me. We can relate to each other.
I got my own place at Waterloo in September 2002. Robert and Taylor helped me move from Miguel's place on Cherokee. Miguel was upset that I was leaving him for my own place. He promised he never want to see me again! Good riddance. I didn't have my own bed. Robert gave me his old bed, which was good enough at that time. I have no money for a new bed. Robert and Taylor took me shopping for things at my place. Taylor picked out the things for my liking. Taylor made me place very nicely; he did an excellent job. They both will do anything for me.
I know I went off topic! Hey, I just want to tell how good Robert AND Taylor were friends. Their friendship meant the world to me.
Taylor and I went to the bus stop. He was still crying; he couldn't understand how God took him away. He was pretty upset. He disavowed God; he wants nothing to do with God. He took off his rings and necklace. I put out my hand, "Give me your stuff." I didn't want Taylor to give up on hope and/or God. I will keep his things for safekeeping. He gave up his faith in God. He couldn't handle losing more loved ones.
We got off Madison and walked to Robert's. Taylor buzzed. Julie came down. We went in the building. Taylor broke down. Julie comforts him. We went up the stairs. We entered the apartment. They mostly did the talking. I listened to them! LOL. It was a great healing process for the both of them. It felt good to be a part of that. I just wanted to be there for Taylor. He has been through a lot.
Taylor admitted to Julie that he wants nothing to do with God; God kept on taking his loved ones. Julie made a excellent point - people comes into our lives for a reason, then they will leave wherever they may go to. Robert did his work on earth; he touched so many lives. It was his time to go home. God needed Robert more than we do. Taylor decided to put on his jewelry again.
Julie mentioned that Robert and her were complete strangers when they met! No kidding, dude! After three days, Robert offered Julie to live with him. See how good Robert was. Julie didn't know what to think. She has nothing to lose. She moved in to take care of him. They became great friends.
In closing, I felt so bad. I didn't reach Taylor on time before Robert's passing. I promised Robert that I would tell Taylor to call him. We both didn't say our goodbyes one last time in person. Whenever I listen to Loreena McKennitt, her songs will remind me of the great friend we lost. My friends, we will cherish our time with him till we see him again.
"Every journey brings its own surprises: a challenge, a sudden detour, a new set of friends along the way, perhaps even a destination different from the one you intended." - Loreena McKennitt.
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