I have been MIA lately…maybe not in physical form but in mental stability. There’s no correct or logical way to train someone or teach someone how to accept the passing of a loved one. When someone becomes such an important part of your life, your brain finds it hard to accept a truth if it pertains to that person physically being removed from your presence for eternity.
On January 20, 2012, my dear friend Garry passed from this world. Not only did I consider him my friend, I also considered him my brother. We were very close in that we shared many of the same values and had the same quick temperament. As we always said, we both had an inner bitch and when something needed to be said, that inner bitch did not think twice before letting the truth come out. As we both believed, the truth hurts sometimes and everyone needs to hear and feel it often. On the total opposite end of the spectrum, there was a spot so sensitive that the slightest hurtful word from a loved one would split us in two.
I met Garry (yes, there are two “R”s in his name) in 1999 after living in the area for a few months. I was working for the now defunct WB Studio Stores in a nearby mall. A few months after starting there, he and two others were hired. I was working mostly evenings which meant working late to fold clothes and clean up after messy customers. We were working one night when he needed some help folding shirts. I gladly offered my help and after talking to him for a while, out of nowhere, the inner bitch asked, “Are you gay?”
It seemed to cause instant silence. He looked at me like…WHAT? After a minute, we both laughed our ass off and that was the beginning of the Garry/Wes duo. When we worked together, it was as if we were connected. We knew what the other was saying at any time. Christmas time in the mall could not have been more enjoyable if it hadn’t been for him. The POS system went down and was out for Black Friday and on into December. We had to keep each other sane as we did all the calculations by hand and with small calculators. The beer flowed when we returned home each night!
Not only were we coworkers, we were also roommates. Garry decided to move into the apartment with us in Duluth. It was an awesome time and we were able to meet some wonderful people that continue to be great friends. One Halloween, we decided to dress in drag. We wanted to do it correctly and all out. It seemed like we were in Wal-Mart late at night for days on end. One night, we needed some help with sizing. We had already picked out our shoes and had chosen our costumes at the thrift store. We went to the local Wal-Mart location, around midnight, and went to the ladies department. There was a nice lady working in the area and we caught her attention. She walked over and in my nicest voice, I said, “Yes, we need some help from a lady. My friend and I will be dressing in drag for Halloween and we need to know….if we had boobs and they were proportional, what size would you say we were?” Obviously, this wasn’t a weird question for her as she looked at us and said I was a C and that he was more of a D. She was right and to show our appreciation, on Halloween night, we walked our asses right up into Wal-Mart and allowed her, and everyone else in the store, to check out our look. She loved it and so did everyone that stopped us to ask where we had bought everything.
We did the drag thing a few times out of sheer craziness. Once, it was because it was requested from his partner, Arnold. It was his 21st birthday party and he wanted a drag party to beat all drag parties. Many of the guys from the bar in Tucker decided to join us and we all had such a crazy fun time.
I could sit here and type for days to tell you the good times we’ve had. Honestly, they are too numerous for words. A book could be written on what “fun” meant to us. In its simplest form, “fun” was when we could let go of all our cares and concerns and relinquish our bodies and minds to whatever came our way. When you got us together and alcohol was in the mix, heaven be with anyone within reach. We were dancing and laughing and just acting like a bunch of fools. The next day, we were usually looking at each other with that quizzical look of…why the hell did we do that last night?