Last week I started to feel numb. I realized I was feeling off and couldn’t figure out why. And then, it clicked. Clay’s death-a-versary. This is the third year since he died. And I’m horrible at dates. I can’t remember people’s birthdays. I never know anniversaries when I’m dating someone. I never bother to pay attention. So why would I remember a death-a-versary? But my body knows. My body mourns and reminds me of the great loss of the weirdest, coolest, most annoying, most awesome person, Clay Wofford, aka CD Wofford, aka, Seedy Wofford.
And of course, this day reminds me of the deterioration of his body and mind. And subsequently, the deterioration of our friendship. For years after we broke up, we remained friends. We were in weekly contact: at some points, daily contact.
But then, there was the accident, when his body was slammed with 80 pounds of kittie kibble when a driver on a suspended license t-boned his friends car. His friend in the passenger seat died. His friend who was driving wasn’t in a good shape but survived, kinda? Then there was 28 days in a coma, and those voices that he had in his head, those strange things he saw from the corner of his eye, all came to the forefront. They seemed to be present, and I wondered if he could distinguish reality from visions.
Then his mother’s husband died, then his mother died. And he was living in nowhere Arizona. His friend Marcy visited him there. The way she described it, I got chills. It was creepy. Not him but the trailers, the land, the neighbors, the place. I always got the feeling that these things were sucking the life out of him and filling him with something else. I suspected it was dark living, his living off the land, with no electricity, no refrigeration, no internet, no tv! But her visit to him confirmed it all.
And now we are here, in reality, missing this strange person that brought such kindness and laughter to our lives.
And while mourning is hard, not mourning would be worse. I don’t know too much about his death. I’ve heard a story, but that seems too fantastical even for Clay. I feel very protective and possessive of his memory. Possessive in the sense that there aren’t too many people that were lucky enough to know him. Possessive because his mother is dead. No one knows where his dad is. His brother Randy and his other friends mourn him. Possessive because there’s so little of him left. Some old photographs, loads of letters, and some really great stories. Stories that work best in a dark room with loud music and cold beer followed by shots of whisky. I’m hoarding these stories, telling them when I can, sharing his life with people that never met him.
And while I’m so very bad at dates, I’m actually grateful that my body recognizes the loss of this strange human that I loved.