It’s been two months since I have posted here; I’ve written on scraps of paper and random digital documents, but between stress and varying degrees of grief and loss, I’m stuck after a paragraph here and a paragraph there. But I didn’t want today to end without sharing a little about someone who was important to me. The harder topics can wait a bit longer.
I’d like to tell you about my friend Dave.
He loved watching basketball.
He loved good food. Like, really good food. Like, when he and I went out to eat, I always felt underdressed and out of my league. He never made me feel that way, though.
He loved the arts.
He loved creating art. He was so wickedly creative.
He was a gifted choreographer. So gifted, that to this day, the only production of “Oklahoma” I’ve been able to sit through was one he choreographed. And that includes the film version *and* the PBS version with Hugh Jackman.
He saved me from quitting my job, when I was certain I would never be good enough. He assured me I was.
He gave the best hugs.
He knew how to get the best out of people.
He was a lively lunch companion.
He had the impish-iest of grins, and loved to tease.
He never yelled at me for missed notes in the dozens of songs I played for his students. And one year, when I was certain I could not play the end of “We Both Reached for the Gun” any faster, he grinned his impish grin and said, “Yes you can Jules, this is easy.”
He was one of the few people in my life who called me Jules.
I had a crush on him most of the time we worked together. I think it was hard for anyone to not have a crush on him—he was so charming, and made me feel like I was the most important person in the room, as I’m sure he did for countless others.
He took the leap into grad school the year before I did. I’m not sure I’d have had the courage to go if he hadn’t taken the risk first. Who leaves a secure teaching job to follow their dreams? Dave does.
He wasn’t perfect, as none of us are.
He hurt my feelings from time to time.
He made me angry.
He made me sad.
He was human, and I adored him.
Last week when I learned just how sick he was, I crumpled, but hoped I’d be able to see him.
Today, I am crushed at the news of his passing.
This week, I’m going to a right fancy restaurant and will savor every bite of a well-prepared meal. I will watch a musical (but not “Oklahoma”) and pay special attention to the choreography. I will share stories with friends about things I loved about him, and things that drove me crazy about him. And going forward, I’ll try to take pieces of his best, most supportive qualities, and do the same for those in my sphere of influence.
Love you, Dave. Rest in peace.