For What It's Worth
This entry was originally posted on June 18, 2005. It's been six years.
About a month ago, our friends Noah and Ash came over for a small, intimate, us-only dinner party at my parents' house, because my parents were out of town, and why throw a perfectly good intimate dinner party at your own house, when your PARENTS' house is just, like, EMPTY AND ABANDONED because they are never in town, and also equipped with such wonders as (a) one swimming pool, and (b) one wine cellar? And you are equipped with (c) one key? WHY WOULD YOU NOT ENTERTAIN THERE EVERY DAY? So off we went.
At one point during the evening, the four of us were talking about Serious Things, when Noah all of a sudden turned very red and started stammering, and looked at Ash, and she was like, Dude, YOU deal with it. So he was the one who had to tell me that my boob had just FALLEN OUT of my otherwise cute sundress, and I had been sitting there discussing THE EUROPEAN UNION as my nipple, filled with childlike wonder, took in the various sights and sounds of my parents' backyard. Hello, world! FEEL THAT BREEZE?
But anyway. Despite my exposed nipplage, we had an awesome time, because it was fun to hang out with them. And we don't get to see them very much, because Noah has been in Iraq, and Ash has been busy setting up their new house. And so we had super big fun, even though Ash didn't much have a bathing suit, and the only store that was open was Target, and the only thing they had was Dregs of Bathing Suits, in various non-Ash sizes, and so she ended up buying one bottom and one top that did not match, NOR did they fit, and she looked kind of like an Olsen twin except with boobs. Finally she just gave the heck up and hopped into the pool wearing a dress, already.
And, I was like OH NO on the pool/water thing, because it is one in the morning and I am tired and a wuss, and ALSO, IT IS COLD, Y'ALL. I tentatively put my toe in the water, and made little shrieky sounds, and backed away. Until Noah saw me, and this strange, dangeorous light came into his eyes, and before I knew it, he had PICKED MY ASS UP and was holding me over the deep end of the pool in a terrible, suspense-filled drama the likes of which I WILL NOT EVEN GO INTO, but FEAR, TERROR filled my heart, and I started pleading like he was about to toss me into a pit of VIPERS, PEOPLE.
So I engaged in negotiation.
Self: Noah. I just fed you. Please do not throw me into the pool.
Noah: YOU ARE GOING IN.
Self: I will give you shiny things. I am sorry I tried to make you eat a crab cake. I now know how you feel about seafood and how you believe that crabs are like insects of the marine world. Please accept my deepest apologies and rememember that I also served you a steak. And also some lovely potatoes.
Noah: INTO. THE WATER.
Self: I will buy you cars and diamonds. Please do not make me wet in such a manner that I will have to go find a hairdryer before I can go to bed. You have short militaryish hair, and I have many long locks. They do not like the wet, Noah. They will turn on you.
Noah: I AM NOT SCARED OF YOUR HAIR.
Self: But, see, Dukay is scared of my hair, and is scared that if you anger the hair, the hair will attack him in his sleep, slowly wrapping around his throat and throttling all of the sweet breath from his body.
Noah: Wait, is this the best you can do? Aren't you a lawyer? You suck at arguing.
Self: Well. I am kind of freaking out right now.
Noah: And for good reason, because IN YOU GO.
And he threw my ass in. At which point, while underwater, I decided to put him in the HAUNTED GUEST BEDROOM, OH I WILL SHOW YOU, YOU THROWER-INNER.
And then I cacked evilly. Cackle.
After emerging, shivering and pathetic from the pool, I wrapped myself up in a very unattractive flannel robe and tried to comfort my hair before it went on an attack directed towards my dinner guests. And then we came inside and drank wine, and sat in the hot tub and made fun of the guys who were whining about how HOT it was, in the aptly named, you know, hot tub, and then we all fell asleep in various (HAUNTED!) rooms. And woke the next "morning," which is a term I use loosely because it was technically one of those "p.m." times, and then went to breakfast and ate barbecue sandwiches and eggs, because SOMETHING IS CLEARLY WRONG WITH US, but man, it was good.
And then we hugged Noah goodbye, because the next day, he was flying back to serve for eight more months.
Early yesterday morning, Noah was killed in Iraq. I don't know any of the details yet. I only know that he is gone, and that Ash called both Dukay and me yesterday so that we would not have to learn about it on the news.
I am so sorry. I am so sorry for his family, and for Ash, and for all of their many friends, who knew him for years longer than I. I feel like this tragedy is not mine; it is theirs, but I am heartbroken for them. I am heartbroken for everyone.
There is a tremendous care package for Noah sitting in my dining room right now, waiting to be sent. It's just...sitting there. It all seems unreal. I don't even know what to do.
And, this is exactly the sort of thing I would not usually write about, because this website is supposed to be lighthearted and funny. But the thing is, all of my times with Noah were lighthearted and funny. Noah always made me laugh.
And it seemed, somehow, that maybe the best tribute I could pay would be to tell all of y'all about this funny, mischevious, giggling guy who threw me into a pool a few weeks ago, who hated seafood with a passion, and who loved his girlfriend with all of his heart. Who never got to be a husband, and who never got to be a daddy. Who never made it home.
He is gone, and he will be missed.
It's been six years; let's all remember Noah, y'all. His funeral was held the day he would have turned 24, and his dad led us all in singing him happy birthday. I remember them playing Taps, and I remember a soldier walking over to Ash -- Ash, who had kept herself together, all day -- and handing her a neatly folded flag. And she just fell. She dissolved. Six years later, and I can't even think about that day without bursting into tears.
Two weeks ago, he would have turned 30. He didn't get there. He was only 23 years old.
I'll say something funny soon; we're doing potato chip taste tests tomorrow, so I'm sure all hell will break loose directly. But in the meantime, it's been six years; let's please not forget. Please remember. For what it's worth.
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