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Dear George

Who Later Became Derrick,

By Roy StevensPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 5 min read
Dear George
Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash

Dear George

Who later became Derrick,

The concrete playground was always hotter than need be, and we children ran with sweaty joy to be free from times-tables, verbs and the drudge of Geography. In class I asked why we couldn’t rocket our garbage to the sun, you sat way in the back racing Hot Wheels for fun.

Somehow, we became friends despite our differing natures which in time combined to propel us through adventures that boys of eight to ten years might create, such boys who can grow and dream up places mystic and great.

We fibbed our way through any crisis full of rules broken and imagined nemesis. We grew unfettered, unhindered by controlling parents who might hamper our wanderings by their loves’ limited patience. For me it was neglect born of constant endurance of older siblings who pushed back against needs of assurance. For you no mother and a father steeped in alcoholic haze (with mine often not so far removed from that forgetful daze) allowed us freedom to ride the streets in night or early morning darkness to our childish delight.

It always seemed to me that bicycles formed our extended legs to free us from whatever dull and sorry state would corner us to plea for our attentions. We would slip from view on wheels which seemed made to flee from unneeded, unwanted tensions. You loved to wander with imagination so fertile that strange and wonderful thoughts and actions overcame all forms of denial. The aerosol can tossed into the fire, “RUN” you yelled to best inspire healthy fear of sudden perforation which accompanied our laughs and desperation. Jumping from second story rooftops into piles of stones to absorb the shocks while passersby tut-tutted in tones of frustration, “Do their parents have skulls filled with rocks?”

With your cousin Rob we launched fireworks from a canoe, a terrible idea, unless it came from you! The beauty of the night on the glass calm lake with no waves to curtail, douse or slake the colour and noise of the lightning parade hurled skyward beyond our small craft’s palisade. What silly joys like drowning Rob’s dad’s jeep by driving it through the waves on the beach when sleep wouldn’t come to make you docile, quiet or keep the cavalcade of new ideas from piling on you five fathoms deep.

You shot me several times I recall with BB, dart and split pea. After all, they were especially abundant and prone to fall from the end of the barrel before the spring could act on the ball.

In time it was girls who drew our attention from games and the vast world of invention in which the creations of your subconscious could wander, leaving us with new dimensions to ponder. Dimensions of romance of needing and lust we were ill-equipped, or at least I was, to trust. To throw down a gauntlet before that mysterious world where the more advanced gender morphed, transmogrified, swirled. All the new secrets from that other half of the species left us sometimes wallowing and feeling like feces. Or at least I did, I can’t claim that you stumbled. I never saw it myself and you left me humbled as it seemed you could draw anyone to you. The girls were not immune even when they saw right through you.

As teens we moved apart on the tides and floundered and came back to each other in times busy or slack to compare notes, support, console or advise. Dreaming of futures beyond our limits to rise to, and hope for the morning with bad nights to survive through. Yet finally we drifted too far and lost touch, too ensconced in our own worlds to gravitate much, back to each other in time’s misty valleys. Your world and mine lost down dark separate alleys.

I saw you but once more in young adult years of frustration and lost hope and disappointments and tears. You had moved away far but came back for one day to find me and hug me and tell me, “Okay, so you haven’t made it past the empty places where hopelessness dwells and poverty defaces our wishes and dreams. Not yet…, it’s early still and you’re not done with your races to find a safe haven in body and mind where people who know you are welcoming, kind.”

And you were right it seems, such places exist for all of us though sometimes they’re lost in that mist. I found mine with perseverance, stubbornness, luck. But before that I watched you get back in your truck and drive away home to your own burgeoning life. Then one day much later, two decades and more, my brother informed me that you were no more. Your big heart had failed you in your far away home. Death took you away to no longer roam through the hallways of my visions of times that are past; you must remain in my memories so long as they last.

Those memories are filled with fields and laughter, of fever-pitched action and the things that came after; the quiet, the songs, the late-night radio playing Dr. Demento with no one to stop us. Yet we stopped. No one can expect Time to fuss when we leave it trailing our stories in dust. Yet your story was so much brighter than any I’ve known. I’d wish just once more with feeling to see how we’ve grown.

Always Missing You Buddy,


By Japheth Mast on Unsplash

sad poetry

About the Creator

Roy Stevens

Just one bad apple can spoil a beautiful basket. The toxins seep throughout and...

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Comments (13)

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  • L.C. Schäfer3 months ago

    What a wonderful tribute. Remember that a man is not truly dead while his name is still spoken ❤️

  • Liz Sinclair4 months ago

    A wonderful tribute to your friend.

  • Kristen Balyeat4 months ago

    What a beautiful piece, Roy! I loved reliving those experiences with you- fully immersed in every word, every memory. Your writing always takes me to another world. Thank you for sharing George's story, for giving us a glimpse into your shared carefree and mischievous childhood! What a fantastic tribute! I'm truly sorry for your loss.

  • Naomi Gold4 months ago

    You have such a gift for bringing things to life with your words so it is like your readers have lived it. I’m sure this wasn’t easy to write, or to read back, but it is beautiful prose. Now George lives forever, not just in your memories, but also through your sharing of them in such a palpable way.

  • Donna Fox4 months ago

    Roy I really enjoyed this story! It was so emotional, I could feel your longing and sorrow for a lost friend! I am happy you still have these beautiful memories to dwell on but I am so sorry for your loss, my friend! 💜

  • Cathy holmes5 months ago

    Wow. The nostalgia and yearning is palpable in this piece. Very well done. Sorry for the loss of your friend.

  • Abby Kay Mendonca5 months ago

    This is so heartbreaking yet beautiful. I loved how it showed you growing up from being shot with split peas and BB guns to you growing apart, coming back together etc. That was just so breath-taking to read. It was such a great way to honor your friend.

  • This was a tear jerker! Gosh I don't know how you wrote this. I would have been sobbing the whole time. So emotional and beautifully written!

  • Kayla Lindley5 months ago

    Wow this is so emotional and personal! I loved the beginning. Once I started getting through I was like "Okay, I see you here." Ugh I loved this so much! Great job.

  • Ahna Lewis5 months ago

    Roy, I loved how this poem captures both the joy and loss of childhood friendships. It's such a wonderful tribute to George and to the friendship you shared. That line towards the end really got me--"Death took you away to no longer roam through the hallways of my visions of times that are past and you must remain in my memories so long as they last." How true that we can still hold our dear ones close in our memories. Also, on a lighter note, I relate to the line "It always seemed to me that bicycles formed our extended legs to free us"--my neighborhood friends and I were off on our bikes every chance we could get!

  • Jay Kantor5 months ago

    Roy ~ You are an excellent Writer ~ Story Teller. From my generation to yours - thank you as always - for your so thought invoking meaningful content. Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, Cal 'Senior' Vocal Author

  • Jazmin Fernandez5 months ago

    That was sad but well-written. Super awesome!

  • Nice one, written with Love ❤️ 📝✨😉

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