It's been a year.
He came to the horticulture program in the fall of 2011. Like most of our students, he was in his 20s or 30s. Hard to say, I'm never a good judge of age. He walked with a slight hitch, I think it was a skateboard accident. Or was it a motorcycle? He still rides both.
I always knew when he was in the building, his helmet sitting next to his laptop. That laptop, the one he'd frantically google for facts in the middle of class. Drove some of the students crazy. He was always present, always involved in conversation or the middle of a project. He was easy in lab, just assign him to a crew and get out of the way.
Made some crazy.
A year ago, we came back from Christmas break. I was talking to a graduate, told him he probably knew one of current students. They were both skaters, of course they'd know each other. I describe him.
"That dude?" the graduate says. "He killed himself."
He's got it wrong. I just saw him a month earlier. He had some problems outside of class, but who doesn't. I describe him some more.
"That's him. No doubt."
I check the obits. Name after name after name... I then I see it. He's there. It doesn't say how it happened, just that it did.
The details, irrelevant.
I don't know why. I didn't know him that way. We all got demons. Maybe his were too tall, too angry. Maybe they circled the waters around him and things just got too muddy. Maybe he just couldn't see clearly, caught in the vortex of swimming demons.
He ran out of strength. He gave up. Went under.
Made a decision he could never take back.
There are others that feel like I do. I miss Motorcycle Boy.