I’ve debated whether to post this on your Facebook wall but it seemed too confined. I want the world to know what you have done for me when you were still here with us.
When Andrew sent me a text saying that you had been involved in a car accident and had passed away, I honestly thought it was a joke. When I met you in the dorms during freshman year in UCI, you established yourself as a prankster. I would always fall for them, whether it be a lesser-known “fact” about something or an event that may or may not have happened, because you always sounded so convincing. But your pranks were never mean. I appreciated that you knew when the joke was over and you kindly revealed the truth. Your pranks broke the ennui of the every day. When I received the news, I kept hoping that it was a sick joke. I would’ve been hella pissed off with you guys for days (or weeks!) but least I’d eventually get over it and you would still be here.
We did a lot of things with our friends over the course of four years in UCI from renting a cabin in the mountains to our Vegas road trip, but there was one I will never forget. And we didn’t have to go anywhere for it to be special.
It was Thanksgiving during our sophomore year and our friends went home for the holidays. For some reason, I didn’t feel like going back to Northern California. I guess I had to study for Organic Chemistry. You knew how I was. One of the things I liked about you was out of everyone in our group friends, NOT ONCE did you ever say to me that I studied too much like it was a bad thing. I always took some sort of an offense whenever someone would say that to me because they usually would have that tone like I never have fun or something. You knew about priorities and you respected other people’s. Anyway, I was on AIM and you had told me that you didn’t go back to NorCal either. Out of the blue, you suggested that we buy turkey and other Thanksgiving food and we could cook in my apartment since I had a functioning oven. We went to Albertsons even though I didn’t know what the hell to do with a turkey. For all I knew, you could microwave that thing and voilà! It’s ready. It was a good thing you knew how to cook.
While waiting for the turkey to defrost, we decided to watch a movie from my collection. You said that I should pick the movie. Over the years, I noticed that you always put others before yourself and that microcosm of a moment was no different. But I insisted that you picked because I could watch any of them at any time. To my disbelief, you hadn’t seen Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds.” I remember looking at you as if you were joking. You weren’t. I remember you laughing at the aliens and what ultimately defeated them. You thought it was ridiculous but I thought it was within the realm of possibility. The movie ended but the turkey was still frozen solid! I suggested we just buy a chicken to get it over with, but you said, “Naw, mang, just a little bit more time. I think we good.” I wasn’t so convinced. So we put in another movie you haven’t seen, still by Spielberg, and it was “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.” I could tell you weren’t really into it, especially the second half, I but don’t like to start a movie and never finish so made you sit through the whole thing. I thought it was so funny that you pretended to be interested by asking questions. You were just that kind of person so I didn’t tell you I knew.
To tell you the truth, I don’t even remember how that turkey tasted like. But what I remember is I was in great company and my Thanksgiving would have been total shit if you weren’t there. We decided to split the cost of the turkey, ham, et al. but you didn’t even let me pay you back. When our Thanksgiving dinner was over and I was about to hand you the money, you rushed out of my apartment because you didn’t want it. You were just that kind of person.
Thank you a lot of things. Thank you for always having time for your friends even though you had some work you really needed to finish. When we decided to go to the movies, thank you for picking me up from my apartment once in a while because I had a paranoia for driving. I distinctly remember when it was just the two of us in your car, you’d threaten to drive to your place so I could talk to one of your roommates who you knew I happen to have had a crush on! lol. You relished my uncomfortable moments. Thank you for always making us feel welcome when we were at your apartment and eating all your food. Thank you for all the wonderful times.
We’ll miss you, Xai.
My thoughts are with you and your family.
We’ll meet again on the other side.