This is Doug.  My friend of nearly 20 years.

He died last week.  Heart attack.  There won’t be a funeral or memorial because Doug didn’t want that.  He always was an off the grid kind of guy.  But if there was one, this is what I would want to say:

I won’t ever smile when I hear his husky voice on the other end of the phone.

We won’t ever go out for Chinese again and he won’t ever leave his fortune cookie untouched.

I won’t ever bum a cigarette off him because I don’t really smoke and never have my own.

He won’t ever watch the US vs. Canada Olympic hockey game with us but really spend most of the time watching us because our showdown entertains him more than the one on TV.

I won’t ever kick his ass on the Wii.  Every. Single. Time.

I won’t ever walk into the paint store he manages, the one full of highly flammable products, and see him behind the counter, lit cigarette in hand.

He won’t ever hold my hair back, while not holding back the laughter, as I barf into the toilet after that fourth margarita on Cinco de Mayo.

He won’t ever help blow up the inflatable Corona plane.

He won’t sit at our Canadian Thanksgiving table again.

He won’t ever drive me to that store so I don’t have to go downtown alone.

He won’t ever pet sit while we’re gone anymore.

He won’t ever be my date to the museum and dance performances since the guy I’m actually dating lives 2000 miles away.

He won’t ever say “Kiss Sean for me” before he hangs up the phone.  And I won’t ever know if that’s what he meant to say.  He did have that stroke and all.

We won’t ever talk about what it’s like to care for his aging parents again.

He won’t ever make those amazing steaks, the ones with the whiskey marinade.

He won’t ever laugh himself into a coughing fit on the patio again.

None of these things, or anything like them, will ever happen again.  But I will never forget that they did happen.  And my life will always be happier for it.

Goodbye, sweet Friend!  The next margarita’s on me.

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