It’s been a little over 2 years since my best friend passed away. On Sundays, when I pick up my ball and cleats to play soccer, listen to a song, think about my days in college and my eyes can’t stop but to turn into waterfalls. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, but rather allows us to feel, remember and live.
I’d love to share how I keep my friend, Davon, alive in my heart. They say someone dies the moment you forget about them, when they fade from your heart and mind. The word forget is foreign to me.
When I step onto a soccer field, smelling the fresh cut grass and the beaming sun on my face, I always tell my father before I kick to goal, “This one is for Davon! Top right corner!”. Next thing you know, I’ve scored a goal and exhibit the most radiant smile on my face. My dad smiles too. At the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Davon and I would go play soccer on a campus field. It became a ritual for us after long stressful exam days. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, we would go the University Terrace soccer field and practice as if we were getting ready for the next World Cup. Sometimes are practices were intense, leaving us with bruises and ripped shirts. Still, it was fun, and we would laugh about our rigorous sessions once we returned to our room. When I score goals, I also score for Davon.
“Music is everything to me. It’s helped me get through the darkest of moments”, Davon would tell me. I would echo his words back to him, as music has been my unconscious ally. Davon and I both spent countless hours devising playlists, sharing music, engaging in deep conversation on which rapper was the best, and letting music be an accompanist to our moments of sunshine. On the week of my graduation, I was wrapping up my graduation photo shoot, but realized I was missing a quote to go along with my photos. That same week, Davon and I, while listening to J. Cole, both had lightbulbs appear on top of our heads. “We gon' take it to the Moon, take it to the stars” the lyrics read. That phrase later then became my quote for my graduation pictures. Over the pandemic, I started to collect vinyl’s from present and past artists. I figured this was a great way to express my love for music while at the same time remembering my best friend.
The saying states that college represents the best four years of your life. At the time I didn’t think it was true, but as I grow older, they were truly what I will call the ‘golden years. I’m three years out of school and over the last year, I’ve realized that worrying about the next test, project or where the next party was going to be held was far less stressful than bills. Davon would probably say the same. My time at UMES was about discovering myself. Going into school I knew who I wasn’t, not who I was. One of the most valuable lessons and gifts of my four years at the shore was the importance of friendship. I met some of the most amazing friends, most whom I stay in contact with today. Meeting Davon was the biggest blessing of them all. A natural introvert and spending too many moments in the darkness, Davon’s hand of friendship and invitation for me to belong in his heart is an experience that I’ll cherish until death. Once the pandemic brushes away, one of my short-term goals is to go back to UMES and walk the campus and revisit the landmarks that hold the memories of Davon.
I have texts on my phone that’ll never ping again and when I ever I need a refill, my mother says, to remember is to live again.