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I Miss You
While walking home one day I received a text message from my friend Jordan. “Hey I heard this song and it makes me think of you. It talks about Jack and Sally and I think its buy Blink-182.” I stopped walking for a second and light up. I knew that song. Well, I didn’t just know of it, I knew every word. I replied, “Yeah, it is by Blink and it is called I Miss You.” I swelled with pride knowing this song made him think of me. We were both completely obsessed with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and the band Blink-182, they were something we could always fall back on in our friendship and this song combined both. It only seemed natural for me come to mind when both of these foundations were mentioned. Now I’ll never be able to listen to that song without tearing up. He is the one that comes to my mind when it’s mentioned. It just won’t be the same. I learned through the death of a friend that life is short and you need to make every minute count because you never know when it will be last.
Over the last two years Jordan and I had become great friends. We met in P.E. in December of 2009. He always joked and laughed with me, constantly teasing me about how small I was. At a little over 6 foot tall he completely towered over me. Instead of focusing on bowling well for class he would goof off and do his best to make us all laugh. When he graduated he didn’t hesitate for signing up for the military. The only thing he ever talked about was how he wanted to be an amazing soldier and an even better father. We kept close even when he was away at basic training for the National Guard he would write to me, and we would talk as often as possible on the phone. Granted he constantly did things that irritated me he would always apologize. He was deployed sometime last year and would talk to me about how he was doing and what kind of things his friends and he would do. He acted so happy to be there, but he always talked about coming home to see his family and friends.
When he did come home I didn’t get to see him until May, 27 of 2011, it was the first time I had seen him in over a year. It was a double date set up. Elisabeth, my best friend, had been talking to him for a couple months. Naturally I was nervous; he was still tall, pale and skinny, calm as a cumber. I was going to bring his Christmas present, but he had insisted on waiting until he could give me mine. It was Jack Skellington sleep pants; I had already told him that. I poked fun at him for a while before we went into the theater. We saw the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean because all of us had a thing for Johnny Depp. Jordan offered to pay for all of our 3D IMAX tickets, but we turned him down. After the movie he walked us back to the car and gave us both hugs. I wanted to squeeze him tight and never let go because I had missed him so much and was worried I wouldn’t get to see him again before he left. I should have held him and told him so. I will always regret that.
It was Sunday, July 24th and he had txt me for the first time in a month. I had been really irritated that day and told him so, not to mention I needed to talk to him about something. It is eerie how things work. He told me “It doesn’t matter because I’m leaving soon.” Instinctively I flipped. “What are you talking about? Where are you going?” I waited for a reply. “San Antonio.” I got at least twenty minutes later. I was relieved and worried at the same time. I was wondering if Elisabeth knew or not or when he planned on telling her. I apologized for being snappy and he told me it was ok and that his service wasn’t good. The last message I sent was “Cool cool.” It should’ve said “I miss you and take care. Love you bud.” Like it would’ve any other day, but I was angry and I didn’t care. I didn’t think he’d care either.
On July 25th I got home from band camp sore, aching, hungry and sweaty. I hadn’t talked to him since the day before but I just sent him a message. I sat down and opened up my chicken sandwich from McDonald’s and before I could take a bite my mom spoke, “So I heard a rumor today.” My immediate thoughts were, “Really mom, really? You are going to bring stuff up now?” but my response was “What?” with as much interest as I could fake. “I heard that Jordan died today.” I stared at her. I stared hard. “What?” “I heard he died in a car accident.” I sat there thinking. He had told me he was coming home soon, but not when. I was so scared. I raced to the computer and pulled up his sister's Facebook page. Her status was, “R.I.P. Jordan, big brother. </3” and I started screaming.
I immediately called Elisabeth, she needed to know. She was screaming and crying too. My littlest brother did not understand why I was so sad and he looked at me and said “Lalo, I had a friend named Jordan and he died in a car accident too. I was really sad too.” Then he pouted and gave me a hug then left. For four years old he was very smart, but still completely innocent. I just sat in my bed for hours, unmoving, except for shivering and sobbing. I couldn’t understand why. Why him? Why now? This was the first time in his life he had ever been truly happy. I just couldn’t comprehend why the god he had just begun to love again would take him. Why he would take him from his sister who loved him more than anything, or why he would take him from us, his best friends. I had never had a friend like him. I knew I never would again. I knew if I needed a home I could live with him, now I had nowhere to go. He had promised to come with me to pick a wedding dress, the only guy I would ever ask to go. That night all I could think about was Elisabeth and everything Jordan had ever said to me and promised. I didn’t talk to anyone and when I finally crawled into bed to try to sleep nothing would come except endless memories. I think at one point in the middle of the night my dad come down and gave me a hug, but I wasn’t sure if it was just a dream. Everything felt like a dream.
Time moved so slowly, and everything I did just felt unreal. I spent every possible second with Elisabeth. We spent hours gazing into the stars, sometimes talking to each other, sometimes talking to him. Then we would curl up on the deck and cry silently. We never slept really, and when I did I knew she was not. We still had band camp to go to as well. Our theme is the Civil War. Jordan loved the Civil War. I marched and tried as hard as I could and it was just so hot and humid. I ached and burned and I was sweating like crazy. Then there was a cloud, no rain, but thunder in the distance. I knew it was him coming to rescue us, I could not be strong anymore, I lost it. I was thankful I was wearing my aviators though not many people knew why. There were two reasons: to hide my tears and because Jordan was being buried in aviators exactly like them that I had given him in December two years earlier.
The funeral was shocking. So many people had come; I hadn’t known he was so popular. I was told protesters might show up and I was terrified I’d have to go to jail afterwards, but they did not show because it was too hot. I was relieved at that as I walked in the door until I saw the giant church and the crowds of people. I panicked. I cannot do crowds. I know none of these people. My only hope was that I would find Elisabeth or Sam. I found Sam first. She was tall and pale and beautiful just like her brother. I hugged her and told her how pretty she looked and asked if she knew where Elisabeth was and she did.
As I walked into the chapel I was immediately struck by the big black casket down front. I thought to myself “He can’t fit. He’s too tall. He can’t fit.” It was so beautiful and so dark at the same time. The casket was black, glistening and gorgeous under the bright lights of the church. I had silver trim and the handles shone like the stars at night. It was breath taking. He deserved it, I knew that, but the only problem was that I just couldn’t comprehend how someone who dwarfed my height would fit into a box that small. When I had finished marveling I took my seat next to Elisabeth and the service began. First was a slide show of pictures of him throughout his life and then there was testimonies about how he lived life to the fullest, and that was true. They talked about how he made everyone laugh, that was true too. You could always count on him for a smile. Then there was music, two sings dedicated to him by his favorite artists. I Miss You was the first to play. I sang it all through my sobs and held Elisabeth’s hand.
The burial was in Higginsville at the military cemetery there and it was just as crowded at the church. There was the 21 gun salute and then his unit did roll call. I will never forget hearing “Specialist Jordan Lee” then repeated “Specialist Jordan Lee” and still no answer. Then the man turned to his superior officer and reported “One man out of rank sir.” I couldn’t hold it in any longer, thankful that I was wearing my aviators, and let more tears stream down my face. That’s when I realized this was all real. Standing in the devastating heat of August, wearing a formal black dress and standing on a hill looking into a little mausoleum, focused on a big black box that held one of my best friends. He would never fall out of rank. He was too good of a soldier for that. He loved it too much.
I walked into the little open building and just stared at his coffin and his boots and continued to think about how there was no way those big feet could fit in that little box. A fellow soldier stood next to me, he was short and thin with a bronze tan. When he noticed me he said “Jordan was an amazing soldier.” And I replied “He was also an amazing friend.” And we smiled at each other. I felt a little better knowing that someone else understood. The drive home was mostly silent except the occasional question from my mom. I spent the rest of my summer with Elisabeth and we both just kept pushing on and talking. We were the only people from this town who really knew him. We only had each other, and we only still do.
Now I have officially started my senior year full of remorse at the way I had viewed life. I never thought about living like Jordan had, I always thought I had more time to live. Now I realize you have to make every minute you have with those you love count because you’ll never know when it will be there last, or yours. Jordan taught me many things throughout the two years I had known him, but the most important I would think is what he taught me when he left. I always took living for granted, and believed there was always tomorrow. Now I see you can never guarantee what will come in the future, no matter how perfectly planned it may be.
I will do my best to live as he lived, to make people laugh and work hard, as if there was no tomorrow. He made sure the people he loved knew he loved them, and so will I. On the off occasion I hear I Miss You by Blink-182 I can guarantee 3 things: I will tear up, I will sing, and I will think of him. He wasn’t just a friend to me, he changed my life forever. I know he would not want me to be sad, so I do my best to cope. Jordan Lee, I will always Miss you, miss you.