The Road Less Traveled

It has been eight years since I graduated high school, and in those eight years I've done a lot. Graduated college, worked as a professional actor, sold cars, lived in Ohio, had a couple of fairly serious relationships, gotten married, met my best friend, become a DJ. I've been anything but lazy. My high school classmates have been busy as well. Many of them are married, some divorced, some have served in the military, some have graduated college, some have children, some have several, some are already are their career path, others are just starting, some aren't sure what that career will be. One is dead.

He wasn't technically a classmate, he was a year ahead, but he was a friend. Sure, we had lost touch since I left Bastrop, but that doesn't mean I never thought about him. This weekend, I went back home and ran into many of the people I graduated with. I found them at different places in their lives, and was already thinking about the myriad directions that our class went in. Then I heard my friend had died.

In the eight years (it's so hard to believe it's really been that long), since I last saw him, he had gotten heavily into drugs. The current drug was Methadone. Methadone is used to help wean heroin addicts, but is also sometimes prescribed for chronic pain. I don't know whether my friend had a previous heroin habit, or whether he had started taking Methadone for pain. It might have been for very innocent reasons, but last week it killed him. His mother found him overdosed.

I don't know the specifics of his situation, and so I'm making absolutely no judgment on him. I do wish (very much) that I had tried to maintain a connection with him. I wish I had maintained more of a friendship with many of my high school friends. It's not that I think I could have saved him, but at least I would have a better idea of who he was as a person. The guy I knew hadn't existed in eight years. I'm different than I was then, I'm sure he was too. I would have liked to have known him.

The real question is what led him to his death? His parents weren't that different from mine. He went to the same school I did. He grew up in the same town, around the same people. And yet my life and his couldn't have moved much farther apart in only eight years. I said goodbye to a friend this weekend, and hello to many I hadn't seen in quite a while. It's hard to see where you are sometimes, until you look at others that started at the same place. It's important to know where you came from, and to remember who was with you.