(This is going to be a bit winding and introspective. Forgive the parts that don't make sense the way you forgive the other stuff I do that doesn't make any sense.)

(This is going to be a bit winding and introspective. Forgive the parts that don’t make sense the way you forgive the other stuff I do that doesn’t make any sense.)
For the last two weeks or so, I’ve been meaning to post on the end of the Dutch Masters season. I’ve even got some video stuff, but I haven’t been able to convert it yet. That’ll come at some point, I guess.
But something happened at Carolina this week that put this in a different perspective.
A young man died on campus a few days ago. I won’t rehash the details myself. Read it yourself and, for a minute, ignore the fact that the story told stinks to high heaven.
I didn’t know the kid, even though I tried to make conversation with as many black economics majors I could while I was in school. His girlfriend was in one of my recitations, and I wish her and everyone affected by this the utmost sympathy. I know what it’s like to lose someone so young so suddenly, and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. Especially not when the story is pungent like this one.
But the first thing I thought about when I saw that were the Dutch Masters. After their last game, Aden and I sat in the parking lot with them and just laughed and talked about the last two seasons of rec league basketball. To be around them was fun because they were in the league for fun. At this point in my life, I can’t name anything I do just because it’s fun. I love my work, but it’s work. To spend time with them was a chance to appreciate what it’s like to be in something for no other reason than to be in it. That freedom is something adulthood rarely affords.
But it made me think about my last semester in high school, probably the most fun I had in my life. Senior year is something that nothing else comes close to. It’s the last chance in our lives that we can appreciate a good time without the frustrating anxiety of what’s coming next.
I spent my last semester of high school fully realizing this was the last time I’d see most of those people, so I made damn sure to have as much fun with them as I could. But at the same time, I did that knowing that what was coming next would be better–college. I knew that leaving high school was closing the prelude to my life and getting into a meatier story, one that was twice as exciting and likely to be more fulfilling.
Nothing else was like that. At no other point could I say I was moving to something else with wide-eyed optimism or excitement. I graduated from college with absolutely no plan. The conclusions of my grad school stops were nerve racking because I knew how big the stakes were becoming and knew what that failure and missteps would be severely punished by the real world. There was never anything to look forward to. Just more shit to get done.
So there I was in that parking lot, hoping those kids realized what I knew. I just hoped they knew that life would never be that simple again and to appreciate just that. I have to thank them for putting me in touch with that, along wiht being one of the coolest sets of people I’ve ever met.
And now, a kid two years past where they are fell from a window and died.
I sat here and shed a couple of tears when I read the things people had to say about him after he passed. Made me wish I’d met him. And made me realize how crazy the answer to “what’s next?” can really be.
There wasn’t much left for him, and there was no way for him to know that. I just sit and wonder if he lived it up at least once before he went. If the people close to him made that clear while they had the chance. If his folks will be able to make it through while maintaining their sanity. All of that.
It’s those moments that kill the optimism I had coming out of high school. Those sorts of moments have me afraid of what’s coming half the time and often make me wonder if I really wanna see what else is there if the tradeoff is dealing with the cruelty and randomness of the world.
Nine years ago, I couldn’t wait for whatever was next. I just hoped whatever came next had girls that would give me the time of day (and luckily stepped into a place where the female/male ratio was so skewed that they had to even if they didn’t want to).
What does this all mean? I really don’t know.
Long of the short–hanging with the Dutch reminded me of how fun it is to be a kid. What happened to Keith reminded me why things just ain’t as fun as they once were.