Just As I Thought

Not forgotten

Today I got an email about one of those websites that tracks people you went to school with; it was a page for the Jefferson class of 1985, and of course I started poking around to see who was listed.
And there was a listing for Thomas Traband.
Thomas and I never got along, really, in school. But after we graduated, Thomas and I became close friends and roommates. I looked after him, he looked after me. For a long time, we were inseparable, and even though nothing ever “happened” between us, really, it was not a typical buddy relationship.
I won’t go into detail about our relationship because it is too convoluted and confusing. But like many close relationships, something happened that broke it apart. He stepped out of my life for a little while, got married under somewhat hasty and unusual circumstances–albeit to a very nice girl, and had a daughter.
About a week before my birthday in 1994, he fell asleep behind the wheel. He had always tended to nod off while we were on road trips to the beach, but I never expected the worst: he was killed.
I have spent time in the last 11 years — has it really been that long? — thinking of Thomas, wondering what would have happened to our relationship if he had lived and I had officially come out to him. Wondering what kinds of things were going on in his head, what he took away from our relationship or what scared him away from it, and what path his life would have taken.
When I started packing to move here, I found a box filled with letters he wrote me from Korea; fifteen years ago he decided to join the Army for reasons that still aren’t really clear to me. Against my better judgement, I started reading the letters, getting more and more emotional with every page. Today, after fifteen years of experience and a little wisdom, I can see what they really say; I wish that we were able to say things to each other instead of hinting and writing stories and using proxies to express our emotions.
I miss him terribly, and have integrated his memory into my life so completely that I don’t even realize it anymore — my computer password since his death has been a word that appeared in those letters from Korea. I often think about changing my password because it’s been in use for so long; but giving it up would be like giving up his memory.

2 comments

  • I wonder, has his daughter ever seen what he had written? She’s probably to young now, but it might be nice to get something together for her.

  • If memory serves, I think I sent a bunch of his stories to his wife after he died. I kept his letters to myself. And I’ve kept them online since 1995, although in the “secret basement” of g-world waiting for someone to stumble across them. Serendipity.

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