Mind Meld and Memories

candleI’m over at SFSignal today with a number of authors, Mind Melding about cities in science fiction and fantasy, and epic road trips. You can probably predict that I mentioned Amber, Lankhmar, and Baghdad.

On a more somber note, I’ve been mourning a childhood friend, dead now for 18 years. We hadn’t stayed in touch very well after high school, but I’m certain we would have reconnected in the years following. God alone knows exactly what artistic career he would have ended up choosing with his in-born talent and drive, but I’m certain he would have prospered. I like to think Jon and I would have joined forces and worked together on some projects.

These days I’m sad to say I usually don’t think about him as often as I used to. Time dulls wounds, even that of the passing of an old friend, and you get swept up into the present and caring for and thinking about the living. It’s even been a few years since I’ve dreamed of him. Maybe you’ve had similar ones when someone you love is gone. You discover they’re actually still alive, just in the wrong place, or that they survived but are changed or permanently injured.

That said, I’ve been thinking about him more and more the last months. My son, born with the same kind of artistic talent and drive, is heading off to college soon to study art. I’d give a lot for Jon to have been able to sit down with my boy and talk to him about the field and all he’d learned.

But then I’d give even more if Jon could simply be here to visit with his parents and his sister. Were he alive today I imagine we’d ping each other on Facebook every few weeks even if we weren’t in regular touch. Probably we’d call each other a few times each year and talk about our jobs and families and laugh and encourage each other with whatever crazy thing we were working on.

Here’s to you, old friend, and walks in the woods dreaming of our future, and games of Dungeons & Dragons with Sean. Here’s to reading Warlord and X-Men comics and Elric and Amber and beating the hell out of each other with stuffed tube socks and garbage lids, pretending we were knights fighting with flail and shield.

Your mom told me that she’d found my Kansas phone number in a pile of papers on your desk, and that she thought you were planning to call me. I wish you had. God, how I wish I’d called you.