Goodbye My Friend

I recently decided to look up an ole Yellowstone friend on Facebook.  We worked together during the summers of ’89 and ’90.  We communicated off and on for a few years afterwards but not in recent years.  My search didn’t take long. I found a facebook community page dedicated to his journey after finding out he had cancer.  I was too late.  He had passed on.  I wrote this a few days later after listening to Foo Fighter’s song My Hero.

“6835 S.W. Macadam.  The Buffalo Gap Saloon.  Your destination, sir.” the cabby said as the car came to a stop.

We both stepped out then walked to the open trunk.

“How much do I owe you?”

“$46.35” was the reply while he removed my day pack and guitar case. “You performing here this evening?”

“You can kinda say that,” I responded. “I am playing a song at a memorial for an old friend.  Here you go” I said as I handed him the fare. “Keep it!”  Then I shook his hand. “Thanks for the ride and the chat.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.”

He closed the trunk and walked to the drivers door.  He opened the door, glanced my way and asked “What song?”

“My Hero”  I replied looking directly at him.  “Cause my friend was Extrodinary.”

“Great song!  Good luck” he said disappearing into the cab.

“Sure thing.”  I stood there with my guitar case in my hand, my day pack at my feet as the cab drove off and slowly disappeared in traffic.  I turned to my right at looked up at the sign. “Buffalo Gap Saloon”  I thought as a I smiled briefly.  “Perfect name for an establishment he would frequent.”  I stood in silence in front that bar like I was the only person on this planet.

“You here for Drew’s memorial?”  a voice spoke out to me.

I turned to see a gentleman and a woman approaching me.  “I am” I replied while extending my hand out to him.  We shook hands after reaching me.  “I am Aster.”

“Nice to meet you Aster. I’m Malcom.  My wife Andrea. I worked with Drew at the station for years.  Great guy.  Left us too early.”

I looked down for a moment then cleared my throat. Then I looked at him. “He absolutely did” was all I could muster.

“How did you come to know Drew if you don’t mind me asking?” Malcom replied.

I felt my jaw tighten.  My lip quivered ever so slightly as I said “He rescued me….. from the darkness that was my life.  He came into my life for only a brief time.  We met in Yellowstone years ago.” I explained stopping briefly to compose myself. “Hard to explain really.  Drew listened.  Drew loved unconditionally over time.  Simply put.  He cared when many didn’t and for that I am forever indebted to him.”

“Oh my” his wife muttered quietly.

Silence.

“So you going to talk to the crowd today Aster?” Malcom asked.

“I may.  But I think I am going to just play a song. To thank him in front of his friends and family.”

“Ah. We look forward to it. Nice meeting you Aster.”  The couple turned toward the door and started to walk inside the building.  Before Malcolm disappeared into the building he entered he looked over to me and said “I am not surprised he listened Aster.  That is who he was.  Bet he taught you some guitar too huh?”

I smiled at him and replied “Everything I know!”

Malcom turned and continued inside with the door closing behind him.

I stood there and cried.

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