My Friend

Four thirty.

I just listened to part of The Wall by Pink Floyd. It was on my mind when I woke up, but the stimulus behind it was the memory of my old friend Ken from when I was in high school. I was very sick with mononucleosis for my junior year, and to cheer me up, Ken made me a cassette copy of the album by Pink Floyd. He was a big fan of Roger Waters, the mastermind of the band during the 70s. Looking back on my emotions when I was 17, there was a lot that I didn’t understand. I still don’t, but I know that my bond with Ken was the strongest of my youth. We listened to music together down in my room, and my parents were always glad to see him come over. There was nothing not to like about Ken; he was loved by everybody. I happened to get to know him very deeply. He had a depressive side to him that he didn’t show to most people. Hence his admiration for Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. I had no idea myself that I would later be diagnosed with schizophrenia. Nobody knew. When the illness came, my friend grew more distant emotionally. He was disappointed in me, because in his opinion I had a great deal of musical talent. He couldn’t accept the loss of the person I had been. So now, I often think about my junior year in high school when I was so sick. It was a kind of harbinger of the bigger illness to come in college. Ken hung around, but never with the same love and trust as before. Instead of music, he took up golfing and microbrews and became still more aloof. His politics got conservative and narrow minded. And then one summer day in 1999, his black Dodge Ram hit a tree and he was killed. It was a senseless death. Quite a multitude came to his memorial service. But the person they remembered was not the same one that I knew, the one who shared The Wall with me when I was sick.

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