As a writer, there are few times it is hard for me to find the right words. I’m the family eulogy writer, the storyteller at Christmas dinner, the pretentious one that has memorized poetry. But, when confronted with the thought of writing something about John, I had a fear wash over that can only be described as nervousness. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to find the words to share with you, the reader, what this person means to me. So, here is my gallant attempt, my different kind of Dear John letter, my birthday gift to him:
There is a very memorable and significant moment I have when I meet someone I know I want in my life. With John, it was when he said hello to me in the main corridor of our high school. We had just spent a weekend together on a retreat, and this is where we first met. I called his name, he looked up and with undeniable swagger walked towards me. We hugged and I asked him for the 47th time since meeting him, “So how do you say your last name again?” He laughed and told me, “You’ll get it right someday.” Spelling it is a different story.
That’s when I knew he was special, a particular breed of human that has become rare. Such a small moment, but it’s one I often re-play when I miss him. Which is often.
I have always wanted a brother. A precocious only child, growing up I tried to be the son I knew my father wanted. I played baseball (not without a pink helmet-thanks mom). I worked in the garage. I tried to be the brother I wish I had. I never succeeded, but at fourteen I got something better-I got John. And my father finally got to meet his “son.”
John has done everything I dreamed a brother would do for me. He’s watched me fall in love with all the wrong people and shit talk them with me, get fat, listened to all my bullshit, and makes me dinner because I can’t cook for shit, and still, after all this “sisterly” annoyance, he’s still here. He gives me advice. He drives across the country with me and my parents to move me into a new house. He builds me a table for that house. This is the kind of person I’m talking about.
Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t come without his quirks. Every time I go to his place, his bedroom is completely rearranged. He gets extremely excited by a nice filing cabinet. He over exaggerates words that end in “ch.” He really likes shirts with bicycles on them and always needs new shorts. But, when you realize all these things about a person, and they’re not annoying but endearing, you’ve found someone you love for who they are.
If you are lucky enough to have a John in your life, you’re doing pretty well. I have watched him become the man he is today-I’m so proud to call him a best friend, my future bridesman (because yes he will be on my side with me), and a brother. That’s a gift I’ll never be able to top.
So, that’s what John is to me, but I also need to share what John is to other people because it’s not just me that’s obsessed with him. In high school when he came out, I got to watch the lives he inspired. Because John loved and accepted himself, he gave others the inspiration to follow suit. He gave them a voice they didn’t know they could have. It was an honor to witness this. He also plans parties for milestone’s in his real sisters’ lives-right down to the tablecloths. John is known as a confidant which is why so many of his friends think to call him first when they need advice, a drink, compassion, a hand made sign (follow @foxhound_custom_builds to see what I’m talking about), a simple hug, etc. etc. He is the definition of unconditional love, because, even when he tells me to “shut up and stop complaining,” he immediately bursts out in a crackly laugh and tells me he loves me. Everyone who has met him knows about the kind of love I’m talking about. And the people that don’t? They’re probably really shitty people.
Happy birthday to you John. I love you. I hope nobody around you ever takes you for granted because you’re the real deal. You care and give and give and give. I know, because you show me everyday how good you are. Thanks for sticking around.
This is the first picture we ever took together. We’re heinous.