I guess the universe was trying to tell me something.
Yesterday I was trying to find something to watch. Lately, heck not so lately, how about for the last year, I haven’t watched many new things. I’ve been going back to old tv series, shows where I find the characters comfortable and like old friends, so I’ve binged watched so many things I was running out of stuff to see. I decided on a documentary on Steven Spielberg, mainly because I couldn’t figure out anything else and I wanted to watch something while I ate my dinner.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T.; these were movies that made me think of my friend Mark. I’ve talked about Mark recently passing from COVID, but I’ve put off thinking too much about him. Mark was one of my oldest and probably one of my best friends. We hadn’t really talked a lot in more than a few years. We used to live next door to each other. I moved, he moved, he got married, I moved again. Life happens and sometimes it’s hard to stay as connected. But for twenty years at least Mark was huge part of my life.
I remember seeing these movies with Mark. I can still remember coming out of the theater after ET, it was a cool evening, I remember, and how excited we were after seeing the movie. We ended up at Shoney’s afterwards, that was our end of the night place to go, pig out at the breakfast bar and recount what we had just seen.
In those days, and for the next twenty years, it was me, Mark and Sal. Others came and went with the group, but there was always the three of us. We were always together. Years later when I went to Atlanta and saw old friends Jason and Claire and their son, who I hadn’t seen since he was probably a year old and now he was 17, he said to me that he felt like he knew me, that it was always “Sal, Mark and John” whenever his parents talked about us.
Movies were such a part of our lives than. Every weekend we’d go see at least one, sometimes more, and than discuss to death. If we didn’t go to the movies we would rent movies. This was the days of Blockbuster, we’d go rent a couple movies, go over one of our houses, mostly it was Marks, and order a pizza and spend the night eating and watching movies.
I remember one night, I think at Mark’s parents house, we spend the night playing toss across. It was the three of us and Jason. I mean we spent hours playing this game, throwing those bean bags at that huge board.
Every movie that was discussed in the documentary made me think of watching it with Mark and Sal. Then last night I went to bed and dreamed. Of course the dream was of Mark and Sal. I rarely, almost never, remember my dreams. I wake up and it’s a wisp of smoke, my dream vanishes into the ether. But this one I remember, it didn’t make a lot of sense, but then dreams don’t always. I remember though Mark and Sal were in it.
And finally coming home today, after work, I plug my phone into the car and turn on my music. What comes on, but Foghat. Fool for the City. The first real concert I ever attended was, of course, with Mark and Sal, at the Warehouse in downtown New Orleans and was Foghat.
The universe is trying to make me remember my friend. Like I could ever forget him. We spent too much time together. He meant too much to me.
We’d take vacations together. We traveled to DC together. We took a train to Montreal. We traveled Florida from Jacksonville to Key West back up again. In Florida, after leaving Disney, Mark was driving, he turned on the highway and right after getting on the road we realized we were on the wrong side, it was one of those divided highways and we hadn’t realized it. Mark pulled over right away, we were about to turn onto the right side, when on the hill ahead of us some guy in a truck stopped, why I don’t know, we weren’t coming towards him anymore. But another guy on a motorcycle came over the hill behind him, didn’t see the truck in time and ran into the back of it. Luckily no one got hurt, but Mark ended up getting a ticket because technically he was in the wrong. But if that other guy hadn’t stopped, nothing would have happened.
Or the goats attacking Mark in Bush Gardens. It was a huge petting type zoo. Mark opened the feed for the goats while walking among them and within minutes they were all over him.
I could go on and on with the stories. It’s hard to believe he’s gone and I won’t ever talk to him again. I hadn’t talked to him in a long time, but part of me always assumed that I would one day. There was no way I wasn’t going to talk to him again. It was Mark, one day we’d sit down and talk about movies, or music or something.
Mark was my friend and I miss him.