The thing about losing a friend to death is that they are dead. They aren't coming back. It's not like you were kids and their dad got a new job and they moved to a new city. No,they are dead, gone.
Roger in many ways was that friend you wanted to strangle. Someone once called him a negative friend. I told Roger this and he quipped, "I am positive. Tell them that the next time you see them," referring to his HIV status.
I found myself missing him calling me at two in the morning with his bizarre antics. Whether it was some man who broke his heart, fighting with his brother, or the fact he scruffed his Gucci. Losing a friend is hard. A lover is easy. They can be replaced. Friend on the other hand, it's like losing a part of your heart. Sure I wanted to strangle him around the time he died. The self-destructive behavior had gotten to me. In between the drug use, the wanting to sell drugs again because he was broke, the taking his HIV/psych meds when he felt like it, the noncomplicance with his Hep C treatment, sex with strangers and the black market plastic surgeries that weakened his heart I was through. Not to mention he always demanded I was with him when his behavior landed him in the hospital. While he always made me laugh as he held his nail file and said, "You are lucky I like you," and then viciously gossipped about people we knew hitting all the marks truthfully I had enough. Then he left this planet. I didnt get to say goodbye. I didnt get to tell him that I loved him, but didnt love the disease of addiction and the things he did as a result.
Because of my friendship with Roger I am knowledgeable about ball culture and the different houses as well as many things LGBTQ. I know my labels, and I am better at putting on fake eyelashes. I can also know the value of a rich, older man with money and am not ashamed to sometimes order the steak. I also know not to get a prison pen pal because they demand you send them money, something Roger discovered when he found the murderer of his dreams online. I know all about Cuba too, Roger's home country. I know the meaning of reading and throwing shade.Not to mention I could understand his anger management issues and drive to seek revenge. While they say leave kharma up to God,sometimes it is best to see your enemies suffer. Admit it. Roger and I were the same type where we would follow you to the North Pole if it meant getting even.
Since his death I have dropped that part of myself, the revenge. Still, sometimes I just want to break a thousand windows when things are unfair. Roger got that.
Yesterday was sketchy and tenuous. I had to change my act for a show I was front and center on. They told me I would be ready for the next date, not this one. Fine, but why the hell am I front and center on the poster? Normally it would have been an annoyance. However yesterday it was a freaking ice pick to my ego. But the changes they suggested were ones I needed to make. I found myself wanting to work on my act, get out of the house. I did and ended up doing well debuting my all clean set with May,not one swear word. When it went down I said, "Damn, every freaking day should bethe anniversary of a dead friend's passing." After I did my thing someone said something dumb to me about my lips moving slightly. Normally I would have let it go. But since I was in a weird mood it took ever fibre in my being not to snap back. Not to mention everywhere I went was Halloween and death, death, death. Enough death, I was thinking enough about that. It seemed every comedian wanted to talk about the zombie apocalyse. Being that I was in a weird place I didnt want to hear about it. Yes if it happened my friend would be rising from the grave. While I would be glad to see him he would probably go to eat my flesh but then scream, "I can't eat your flesh. You don't use moisturizer and it would hardly be good for my skin." Sure it made me laugh but damnit, I was thinking about death as it was. Couldn't we talk about bunnies and candy?
I was glad I went to Cha Cha's though. Dave and Heather did a great job. The room was great. I met lots of good comics, company I have needed to keep. Plus I felt safe, something I dont feel everywhere. I thought about staying for the second show but felt drained, plus I wanted to kick box the next morning because I desperately wanted to hit something. Sure, my friend made his choices but knowing he left this planet at thirty four years old would make anyone want to hit something.
I left and ended up at the house of a friend who's like my mom. She wasnt home. Walking by a headliner club I saw the names of some friends and copped a resentment. Sure, my career is nothing to sneeze at. I am on national television more and have been. Why the hell did it kill me, especially since one of my shorts is in a big festival in NYC and the other is in a festival in LA? Why did I have to constantly prove myself in a world where I was never smart enough, never pretty enough, never funny enough, never male enough in an industry where many a male headliner views a female comedian as just a pair of open legs. And maybe I was wasting my time on stage. Other doors were opening for me. Then I remembered I was tired and this was the anniversary of my buddies death. It was time to call it a night before the chip on my shoulder became a cinder block. Yes, cinder block. Roger had one on his shoulder and it weighed him down quite a bit.
I got a cab home because I was too drained to take the subway. When I got home the woman who was like my mom called me. We talked and I told her I knew I was a good friend to Roger when he lived. Roger, despite the fact we had a falling out, knew that. She explained that he did know and probably did watch over me from time to time, which I do believe to some extent. She also cited that it is a rough thing losing a friend, no matter what kind of pain in the ass he was. We both laughed. I also mentioned that if Roger had kicked the drugs and the bad decisions he called a Tuesday afternoon he would have been someone different, and perhaps I wouldnt have gotten a kick out of that person the way I got a kick out of Roger. He made his decisions, he lived his life the way he wanted to, he was a friend, and now he was up to his usual mischief in the next world.
Just then I remembered Roger telling his sister about my shoot in the Italian Marie Claire and about some other comedy thing I did. His sister asked where I performed and Roger told her all over and talked about how hard I worked. I also remembered that in the wake of his death it had been a catalyst for me to have a new life. This included chasing my goals in a way I never had before. All the things I had done since his passing would have been important to him. He would have wanted for me to have a long, happy life where I did well. Despite the fact we both liked the wrong kind of men he hated when I dated losers. He would have also wanted me to perfect my clean set. Roger would have told me it would help make me a big star and make me big money and then I could wear big diamonds. The crazy thing is, sometimes whenever a fan stops me for a photo I can hear chatter from another world, a familiar voice hissing in my hear, "Strike a pose. And why did you wear that outfit from Walmart on the street?"
I also could hear the chatter in my mind from another world where he was telling some hot mixed guy in his Chanel that his friend back on Earth published a book and had movies going to festivals,and that she was on TV last week with her puppets.And that while she was weird and her hair was a mess she was a good person and the good kind of crazy. And he also took credit for everything. Of course this was half because he was proud, but half to get the guy in bed and possibly get presents. If he were on this planet he would be telling me all about it after hours, so I would allow it. Death only changes so much, so I'll allow it. Besides, he has probably given God enough of a headache so this will distract him for a bit.
Still, the loss of a friend,especially from addiction,always leaves a hole in your heart because not only is the death preventable but people think it is a character defect rather than a disease.
Don't take all the hot boys. Save some for me when I get to the other side.
Rest in peace dear heart.
I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl