When you would lay in the halls with Nadia. When we tried to sneak you into shave for cancer. When you put your skateboard away in your locker. Math class… When I was sick, Melissa called me, and you were near the payphone, but we were both too shy to speak to one another. When you were going to fight someone – and the times I’d hear about it from others. Seeing you at the smokers pit – any excuse to hang out with you. Ian Joseph, Eight years ago, you left a math exam at Sacred Heart. In silence, you returned the calculator I had borrowed to you, gathered your bag and left. This was the last time I ever saw you. The strangest part is, a part of me knew it but didn’t want it to be true. Moments flashed before me, art class – you always looking at me or coming up to my desk. Sometimes, I would find you in the halls before class high out of your mind on marijuana, and I would walk you to class. Just an excuse to be around you. I didn’t care – despite how against it I was. You see, you broke down quite a few walls in my life. What wasn’t always clear at the moment has undoubtedly become transparent over the years I’ve seen so many different sides of you. More than a person would expect to see in a semester or two. And times when I usually would have been afraid – I tried to understand you, and I didn’t judge you. Eight years later I reflect on your presence in my life. Even from afar you were always true. Always. Even when we stopped talking for months, or even sometimes a year – I always knew when I needed you, I could call you, and you knew the same for me. I remember sitting on MSN spending hours speaking about what you were doing and how I didn’t agree. I saw your worth much before you did. What I want to say is, no matter what you said or did or told me, anyone who knows me well knows I never stopped thinking about you. I never stopped caring about you – a part of me has always loved you. As I see your colors emerge over these past years, I recognize you are genuinely starting to find your true self. Less emotional pains you were suffering, less the drug use, less violence, not-a-care-in-the-world attitude. You are full of life and beginning to shed your old self, the out of date layers. There aren’t many things that can make me cry easily. Unless I am emotional and on my time of the month – I don’t cry easy. Forever young is the only song that has and continues to make me cry. Someone very close to me told me a story about how her Mom and Grandpa at the same time were slow dancing to this song before he passed away. That image resonated with me. That song also reminds me of something else. It brings back many memories at the high school and fluctuating emotions I felt all through those experimental social years. One person that comes to mind in this song is you. Because I haven’t seen you in so long. I feel like time has been frozen – until this very moment. I suppose I’m trying to decide if freezing time has made you more valuable in my life, or added so much more to my life story. But eight years ago today – you walked back into my life.