the tribute to R. Felix Apush

I am sorry that it took this long. This is not a reflection of my feelings on the matter, I assure you; rather, it is an unfortunate result of the mental block I experience every time I set out to eulogize you.

I do not know how to grieve. That may be it, I suppose. I am still in so much doubt I refuse to believe you are gone. Grief, while not unfamiliar to me, is honestly uncharted territory. And then I realized that this is not about me. It is about you, and the tragedy of our own mortality.

It has been argued that eulogies are pointless, that it is absurd to direct thoughts, words, sentiments even, at the dead. They are in a better place, apparently, so they cannot be bothered. Not by the empty words of the people they left behind. Not by the trivial concerns of the world they left behind. But are you in a better place? Somehow, I cannot imagine this to be the case. Even in the unlikely event that you did end up in heaven, or the stop just before heaven- and I say this with love- I am convinced that you are properly and thoroughly bored. This considering we don’t know the female situation up there. How can any place be better than the one where you were loved fiercely, loyally, deeply?

So, no. I refuse to believe that my mutterings are leaves in the wind. I do not accept that you cannot hear me. I hope that you are hovering above me; I truly believe that.

You deserve to be eulogized. You deserve a tribute of the rarest kind. You deserve, if nothing else, to be remembered, and I am terribly sorry that it took me this long to find a way to do so.

I saw the messages. On social media. I saw the gasps of disbelief and the uncomprehending hashtags, the furious denials. Rest in peace, they said. A fallen soldier, they called you. And I burned with discontent. Do they honestly believe that one status will suffice? Is that really all they can say? Shall we leave it at that, then? But everyone grieves differently, I realized. Still, they called you a soldier. I do not believe that you were a soldier. You, my friend, were a lover, and I’ll be damned if I remember you in any other way.

I will remember many things about you. Many varied and ridiculous things. But these will remain etched in my brain: your firm, unfailing belief that the ugly ones are people too; your quick and completely random sidestep; your unquestionable ability to turn even the most determined frown into a smile, and then a hearty laugh. And your grin. Your stupid, stupid grin.

There was only ever one you; there will never really be another. I will not grieve for you, I will remember you. Not every day, perhaps. And definitely not in the way you need to be remembered. But I will. In the small moments. With that fleeting, nostalgic thought that tears me to shreds.

Words will never suffice. Goodbye, my friend. Godspeed. Save me a decent seat down there. Right next to the action, naturally.


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