You’re All Clear, Kid

It has been too long, maybe a year since I talked to Jesse. We used to be tight way back when.

Life happened. I moved away. He got married, got busy. We grew apart. I thought Jesse was doing all right. He was loved, traveling the world, slowly making his dream projects come to fruition.

Turns out I was wrong about all that.

Before I get to that, I have to tell you why Jesse matters to me. He’s my friend, of course. We met in college in Orlando. He was four or five years my elder. Like me, he was a Cuban-American who never felt like he quite fit with the rest of his family. Like me, he was a creative, obsessive type searching for something different, meaningful and satisfying to do with this life.

I’ve always had a thing for big brother figures. Maybe that’s because of the way my dad bailed on us, but I don’t think that’s quite it. Before all that happened, my older cousins Chuck, David and Francis were my idols. They were strong, handsome and good at sports. They did cool things like listening to punk rock and riding motorcycles. They were the men I wanted to be.

I want you to hold this for me. I am not giving it to you, because it is too special to me. Consider this a loan…someday, put this gun back into my hands.

Jesse was more like the man I was going to be. He, too, was an aspiring film student. We swapped laser discs and dished obsessively about articles in Premiere and Movieline and Film Threat. Jesse loved music as much as I did, so we went to shows together and stayed up late watching 120 Minutes. When Kurt Cobain died, Jesse was the first person I called.

It was Jesse that got me high for the first time. I was cross-legged on the carpet in his apartment watching