Of course, we had the usual “Hey, how are you?” kind of conversation when we saw each other, but we are all so trained to answer by saying “I’m good, you?” that we don’t even think to tell the truth sometimes. There are some people that don’t want to open up, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anyone to talk to.
I was supposed to spend my undergraduate years at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Somehow, I ended up in New York City at St. John’s University, in the Ozanam Scholars Program. I wasn’t supposed to go to New York. I wasn’t supposed to be in this program. I wasn’t supposed to meet you, but I did. 1-800-273-8255, a number that has been around for twelve years, but the public was reminded of it again on April 28, 2017, by the Maryland native rapper, Logic. I have been a fan of Logic since 2015 when he released The Incredible True Story. Maryland has a special place in my heart for various reasons. There, I was born, my morals were established and I met lifelong friends. Some of these lifelong people haven’t influenced my life nearly as much as another Maryland native has. It took us going to New York to finally meet and we grew up about 15 minutes away from each other. I knew you for 8 months and 20 days. Which means I had a month and 16 days to tell you about Logic’s song.
Zach Misleh, in the brief period that I knew you, you brought more sunshine to my life than most people; I never saw a sad side of you. I remember talking about music while laying under a palm tree on the beach in Puerto Rico with you. I learned so much about you that day. I remember when we tried to explain what Go-Go is to some people in our cohort and I was so dumbfounded that I couldn’t even think of what to say, but you had all the words. I remember walking past you in Vinny’s and not even saying hi, I just asked you if you missed Old Bay as much as I did. I remember those DeMatha shorts you would wear in the middle of winter; there wasn’t a time that I let go by without telling you how much of a stinky Stag you were when you wore those shorts. You were my favorite DeMatha Stag. You are my favorite DeMatha Stag.
Sometimes, places that you call home feel like home because of one person. Sometimes, your actual home feels desolate without one person. Zach made St. John’s feel like Maryland when we were 200+ miles away; now Maryland doesn’t feel the same without Zach. He always knew how to brighten up a room. Whether it be with a photo bomb, a laugh, or even a smile, he knew how to bring us all together. What do you do when the person that knits everyone together is no longer with you? You learn to lean on the people around you and see one another in a new light.
I would talk about all of my fond memories with Zach and how I don’t really cope with his absence, but I need you all to know something. Just because they smile, doesn’t mean that they are always happy. I’m not saying that everyone that smiles is depressed, but it wouldn’t hurt to talk to them about how they feel. My friend Zach was very sick and I had no idea. I talked to him about almost anything under the sun, but we never talked about ourselves and how we felt. Of course, we had the usual “Hey, how are you?” kind of conversation when we saw each other, but we are all so trained to answer by saying “I’m good, you?” that we don’t even think to tell the truth sometimes. There are some people that don’t want to open up, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anyone to talk to.
I say all of this now, and it will never be enough. Zach is gone, and my words will never be enough. I wish that I could have done more, but there was nothing that I could have done. Watch out for your friends and don’t be afraid to talk about how you are feeling. Yes, I only knew Zach for a short period of time, but he’s given me memories and wisdom that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
1-800-273-8255. Please hold on. Don’t let go. 1-800-273-8255.