Last night, I found out that my best friend is dead. After three months of silence on his part, I looked up his name on Google. I read that he was shot in the head by a thug, at a bus stop, while heading home from work, in early June. The murderer was arrested and is now in custody. Tommy left behind a 9 year-old daughter, a devastated family and many friends who will never understand why this had to happen.
Tommy, you have been my best friend since we met four years ago. You still are. I will never stop talking to you.
When we met, you had just lost your job and I was working from home. We had time on our hands, and we spent it talking every day for hours on end. We told each other all our lives, our dreams, our secrets, shared our favourite music and movies, our family photos, everything. We helped each other in times of need, when the troubles seemed like they would never end. Remember that time last year when we talked for 12 hours straight? I feel like dialing your number even now, with that absurd hope that maybe none of this is real. How is it possible that I kept writing and calling you for three months, and in all this time you were dead?
You were the kindest, most gentle, most supportive man I knew. You were also a role model for me during your unemployment. At a time when others get depressed and let themselves go, you were so upbeat and so active that you got in the best shape of your life with only two dumbbells and an exercise ball. You never complained, you never said “why me?”. You just kept going until things got better.
We laughed so much… We were so comfortable around each other, with our expired Seinfeld jokes and our obscure IT Crowd references. Complete nerds, and ever so happy to share that. You were so funny, so smart and so modest; you always sold yourself short. I can only picture your face laughing. I can’t imagine it destroyed by a gunshot.
You had dreams. You wanted to go to Brazil, Chile, Thailand and Australia. And to Romania, with me… I had all our itinerary drawn out. But you never got to travel to reach your dreams. Just the one-way trip that left us all heartbroken.
You were still hoping to find love. You wanted to play better guitar. You were thinking of going back to school. You had so many dreams.
But, before anything, you had a child. A beautiful, sweet child who can’t understand what happened to her Daddy. A child whose birthday is next month. A child who was everything to you. I’ve seen her grow through your stories and photos, and I know you will watch over her, and over the rest of us.
The articles in the newspapers were praising the police for how fast they found the gunman. They were saying that the number of homicides in your area was in a steep decline, from 49 last year to 27 this year. How great. Except that one of those 27 was you, my best friend.
Your killer had priors for assault and it was clear he was a danger to society. Yet an irresponsible judge let him off easily, cutting down his sentence from four years to five months – how does that judge sleep at night, I wonder? There are no answers. Just tears.
Rest in peace, Tommy. You changed my life and I am a better person because I knew you. I will never forget you.
* Brianna, you are too young and innocent to understand that there are people in this world made of pure evil. People who were left here to destroy everything they touch. May this be the last time in your life when you have to deal with such people. I can’t tell you happy birthday, not in these times, but I know your father up there wants you to be very happy, always.
* One last word for the monster who caused all this pain: Norman M. Bonds, I know you’ll never read this, but God will see it, because He is neither deaf nor blind. You have taken the life of a man whose value you couldn’t possibly understand. Because you are not human. The beastly look in your eyes in that police mugshot makes it clear that you were vomited on this Earth by some demon. I hope you die in the worst possible pain in jail, be it from cancer, gang rape or, preferably, a combination of both. I have no noble words of forgiveness for you, I can’t say “may God have mercy on your soul”, because I really, really hope He doesn’t. No one will ever cry for you like we cried for Tommy. You’ll die one day and the world will be better for it. No one will cry. Burn in Hell.