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For What It's Worth

July 28, 2011

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.

Posted by doxie in | permalink

41 Comments

That is a great way to remember a friend. Sorry for your loss.

Posted by: Jessica | July 28, 2011 11:59 PM

I cried then, and I am crying now. Quoting a beautiful blog post I read today now: "There is no balance of justice in the universe. There just is." So tragic, so unfair. I hope his loved ones have some peace and happiness.

Posted by: Julie | July 29, 2011 12:04 AM

What beautiful memories!

Thanks for sharing Noah & Ash with us.

xoxo

Posted by: Kath | July 29, 2011 12:05 AM

I remember this post. Beautifully written.

Posted by: KateMac | July 29, 2011 12:17 AM

Always, always I remember. For every life, for every heartache.

Posted by: Dawn-Renée | July 29, 2011 12:21 AM

Beautiful tribute to a friend. I have tears in my eyes.

Posted by: caramaena | July 29, 2011 12:26 AM

Very Beautifully written. It makes me cry, for I have a son over in Afghanistan (second time) and I just can't imagine the pain of his Dear Ash and his loving parents. I would have to be locked up, don't know how I would deal with it.
Thank you my dear for telling us again about your wonderful, fun loving friend. He will always be with you.
Kelly LaMar

Posted by: Kelly LaMar | July 29, 2011 12:29 AM

Thank you for sharing Noah, Ash and yourself with us.

Posted by: Carrie | July 29, 2011 12:37 AM

Such a wonderful memory so beautifully told. I laughed and I cried and I will always remember a boy named Noah that I never knew. Thank you.

Posted by: Rachel | July 29, 2011 12:47 AM

I remember reading this when you originally posted this. It still breaks my heart. Ash and Noah are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you to all the servicemen and women who make our freedoms possible and our country great.

Posted by: Jessica | July 29, 2011 01:03 AM

What touching tribute. Thank you for sharing the (personal) story of one who gave his all for us. God bless his family & Ash, and all who loved Noah. You remind me of how much I have to be grateful for, though I hardly need reminding.

11th year Marine Mom

PS Bless you Kelly Lamar. I thoroughly understand what you are going through! Prayers for the safe return of your son.

Posted by: Margaret | July 29, 2011 01:37 AM

So heartbreaking, thank you for sharing.

Posted by: Erin | July 29, 2011 02:10 AM

I remember reading this post and the ache in my heart when I read that Noah had died. I've never forgotten your beautiful words, and I have tears in my eyes as I'm writing this comment now.

Posted by: diandra | July 29, 2011 06:52 AM

Thank you for sharing Noah and
Ash.

Posted by: Darlene Hollingsworth | July 29, 2011 07:21 AM

Damn. In my thoughts today. What a wonderful tribute to him.

Posted by: annie | July 29, 2011 07:43 AM

goosebumps

Posted by: michelle | July 29, 2011 07:47 AM

Proof that gone is not forgotten. And out of sight is not unloved.

Posted by: Mittany | July 29, 2011 08:20 AM

I will keep Noah in my thoughts today. Thank you for bringing him to life with your words.

Posted by: Anne Prince | July 29, 2011 08:42 AM

My heart is breaking. Crying now...

Posted by: Brig | July 29, 2011 09:01 AM

A beautiful tribute. It saddens me how many families and friends now have to live with only memories of their loved ones who gave all for their country.

Posted by: Rich | July 29, 2011 09:20 AM

heartbreaking. peace to you and Noah's family.

Posted by: Kelly | July 29, 2011 09:37 AM

Thank you for reposting. And for remembering. I was just thinking this morning that it will have been 10 years this year since 9/11. TEN. YEARS. Wow.

Posted by: Liz | July 29, 2011 10:02 AM

I remember reading this, and then feeling almost overwhelmingly sad. How is Ash doing these days?

Posted by: Debbie | July 29, 2011 11:59 AM

Well done. You are obviously a wonderful friend. A lovely tribute.

Posted by: Kellie Cales | July 29, 2011 02:12 PM

That was a great tribute to your friend. It's so sad how many military members won't see their 30th birthdays.

Posted by: KT | July 29, 2011 02:37 PM

I remember reading this. I remember crying then too. I cried because I'd never loved someone enough to make me cry and now I cry because I do.

My thoughts go out to Ash.

Posted by: Dysfunction Junction | July 29, 2011 04:18 PM

My heart goes out to all of you all - I remember reading this post, and being amazed at how clearly you captured this wonderful laughing picture of Noah through all the emotion - and I was all over again reading it today. It's a wonderful tribute.

Posted by: Mystenigmary | July 29, 2011 04:37 PM

Beautiful post and tribute to Noah. I'm so sorry...he should be here celebrating his 30th birthday.

Posted by: Mauigirl | July 29, 2011 04:39 PM

Ah, Leigh. Only you could have a beautiful touching tribute and nipplage in the same post ;) Noah was obviously a very special young man, and he will continue to be missed.

Posted by: Heather | July 29, 2011 08:51 PM

As a friend of Noah, I can't believe it's been 6 years. Thank you so much for remembering this sad anniversary and reminding us that his sacrifice was not forgotten. This world is a better place because Noah was here.

Posted by: Paige | July 29, 2011 09:07 PM

I will now remember your friend Noah forever.

Posted by: Lisa | July 30, 2011 10:39 AM

I remember the first time I read this, six years ago. I was giggling like a maniac about the Leigh-Hair-Pool conundrum and then bam. Your news of Noah's passing hit me like a truck. I've never forgotten this story and I never will. He had a wonderful friend in you, Leigh. Thank you so much for sharing him with us.

Posted by: missbanshee | July 30, 2011 10:49 AM

:-(

Posted by: denice | July 30, 2011 01:56 PM

When you posted this story the first time I found myself crying for two different reasons. First with a feeling of sadness at the loss of your friend. It immediately took me back to 1969, my senior year in high school, when I learned that two of my very closest friends who had joined the Marines together, and gone to Vietnam together had both been killed 2 days apart. I still think about them.
Then I cried with a great swelling of pride and my heart in my throat for my friends, and for Noah, and for the men and women serving in the military now and in the past as far back as we go as a country. Noah will be remembered beyond six years later.
Veterans Day is a signifigant holiday for a reason; not just an inconvenience because the banks are closed.

Posted by: mommamack | July 31, 2011 02:28 AM

Thank you for sharing that with us. So beautiful and sweet!

Posted by: Sammynella | July 31, 2011 11:26 AM

God bless Noah, and ll those who continue to serve for us in Iraq, Afghanistan, and everywhere they are sent. May we never forget, for the memories of what war has cost us are our only hope for peace.

Posted by: Dawn | August 1, 2011 02:18 AM

This hits very close to home today.

My heart is with you all. Indeed, let us never forget.

Posted by: Caitlin | August 3, 2011 01:16 PM

As the mother of one son in the National Guard and another in the full-time reg'lar Army, and now stationed in Iraq... of course my heart leapt into my throat when I read this yesterday; I couldn't even respond. Today, I send you a million billion hugs, for taking a moment to remember your friend, and sharing that moment with us.

Posted by: Caroline | August 3, 2011 03:49 PM

For what it's worth. (literally stands up and salutes Noah) All my love to you, yours, your friends, and Noah's family.

Damn it, now I got somethin' in my eye. (sniffles mightily)

Posted by: Multi-Facets | August 7, 2011 01:40 AM

*hugs* love you

Posted by: Gretchen | August 7, 2011 09:27 AM

I too remember the first time reading this post. Over my lunch break at work, I was reading along and giggling to myself silently, and then abruptly grabbing blindly for my box of tissues. It's a wonderful tribute, and we will remember.

Posted by: kristina | August 7, 2011 01:39 PM

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