It’s only a few days after Thanksgiving, and already I can feel you admonishing me for wallowing in sadness. Despite the immense shock and sadness of your passing away this Thanksgiving day, I can’t but feel thankful for having the honor and privilege to call you my friend.
It’s hard to imagine what my life would have been like without knowing you. These past few days, I look around my apartment, and traces of you are everywhere. Not in a creepy way, but just the fact that fifteen years of friendship has resulted in so many shared memories and experiences that manifest themselves in ways that are both common and absurd.
Inside my nightstand drawer, besides your letter lies the Tissot watch that you and I both had. We bought them completely independently, but I really wasn’t all that surprised that we managed to choose the same one because you have impeccable taste in watch design. Your’s had its clasp broken, which wasn’t worth the price to fix. But mine is still going strong, after a few battery changes. I rarely wear it anymore, but I still treasure it as my first Swiss watch.
On my nightstand, the automatic and manual wind watches that I bought because you got me obsessed with mechanical movements.
Inside my closet lies the violin that I rarely pick up these days. But I still think fondly of those rare occasions where we’ve played together: the Handel’s Messiah play along, the chamber music get together — both times when I, rusty from years of non practice, struggled to play in tune. But even when we met back in college, you far outclassed me on the violin, and the past year you took things to another level.
In my bedroom bookcase, a row of sheet music: all the concertos, etudes, and sonatas that I’ve never played but you did.
All this ballet stuff around my apartment. If it weren’t for Karen’s little nudge to try out the absolute beginner’s class eight years ago, would I have dared go to my first class?
Even bedsheets, because it reminds me of that one time when we were obsessed about the thread count on sheets. Or maybe that was just me. And remember when you were trying to explain to me what color “Delft” was?
Not to mention the Wimbledon souvenir towels, or the “HTC” bathrobe, or the little potted plant gifted from your church.
But these are just the physical cues, which are just a small slice of memories and adventures. How you’ve impacted my life goes far beyond stuff.
Who knows if I would have gone back to Stanford for Statistics if I weren’t just following in your footsteps? It was always fun and inspirational that we worked at rival economic consulting firms, and then rival tech companies. Even if I were never as successful as you, I could always aspire to be “Eric lite” in my working life.
And despite all my protestations, I’m forever grateful for your meddling that finally led me to K. I couldn’t have asked for a greater silver lining, and despite my clumsiness with relationships, I’ll try my hardest not to mess things up.
Now, who will I talk to about taxes and finances? Who will recommend to me interesting podcasts? Who will criticize me for what I do or don’t do in my career? Who will root just as hard for Roger Federer, or be as big a groupie for Hilary Hahn? Who can I confide to about the ridiculousness of life?
I didn’t lose just my best friend, but also my most trusted financial advisor, career counselor, musical inspiration, and hero. But I know that you’ll still be our guide, a guardian angel for me, for Karen, for your family and all your friends. And we’ll continue to fight the good fight, with you always at our side.
P.S. Andrew’s baby boy was born in the morning Thanksgiving day.
P.P.S. Yes, of course I’ll take care of your watch collection.