“Here Lies One Whose Name Was Writ in Water” John Keats

Tall and handsome I didn’t love him for his poetry. I didn’t love him at all in a romantic way though he had a habit of sending love letters to everyone he thought beautiful. 

He’d sent one to me just after a bike ride along the glittering reservoir.  We were friends because we’d known each other since kindergarten and because artists and writers find each other quickly in a small town.  

Graham dated my best friend. But he wasn’t meant to stay long.  He’d had that rare quality of being above cliques and was loved by the bookish and the deadbeats.  

In his short life he traveled to Egypt and crossed America sometimes on foot and sometimes grabbing rides from strangers. I remember him in his favorite faded t-shirt with the milky way emblazoned across his chest.

After high school I met him by chance in the library after he’d just been diagnosed with cancer.  He was thinner but still one of the most beautiful men I’d ever seen. When I saw him next, he was too weak to pull the door handle of the car to get out and chat. So, we spoke briefly with his mother pretending not to listen from the driver’s seat. 

My father didn’t tell me he’d died. Didn’t want to upset me.  I missed the funeral.  

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