I guess there isn’t an algorithm for that.

The first boy to buy me breakfast killed himself in April & I just found out because I realized I hadn’t heard from him in awhile. As I clicked on his profile to send a msg I saw the posts. So many posts blending together. My heart sank into my stomach.

I guess there isn’t an algorithm for that.

We met in an AOL chatroom pretending to be different people. Me, the summer before I left for my freshman year of college in 2001. & him, three years older & already a UT drop out living back with his mom. I snuck out of my house & into his at 5am one morning & we’d been irl friends ever since.

After I got kicked out of school a couple years later & moved back to Austin, we’d watch Hitchcock DVDs & gameshow reruns while his mom was at work & chain smoke cigarettes indoors. By the time she was home in the morning we’d be gone. Years later when I moved to Hyde Park, he helped me move my bed & slept in it a few times when my batshit crazy roomate turned out to be a terrifying heroin addict. He helped me move out a month after I moved in. The last time I’d ever see him again would be in front of a bar on 6th street ~2019, checking people’s ID, he saw me walking & grabbed me to hug me. A feat that would terrify most men, he knew he could.

Over the past two decades we talked less & less but always every few months, & as recently as the week before his death. I cherished every convo we ever had.

I will never meet another person who can out jeopardy or out wit me more than Zachary Rodriguez could. He was a true gentleman & the last thing he ever asked me was “what do you think of when you think of me?” Migas, I told him. It’s what we ate at ihop back in 2001 the morning we met. He made fun of me for putting ketchup on them.

Maybe that should have been a red flag. Maybe I should have said something else. Or something more. My heart is both broken & at peace with that realization. I know he knows I loved him even if he forgot in a moment of hopelessness.

Rest, Señor, but I’m so pissed at you. You were one of my oldest & realest friends. You could have sent me a msg. Or a chess game request. But you knew I would have responded immediately.

& this now feels unreal.


Check on your people.
& know I love you even if we haven’t talked in months or years or maybe ever, I see you & your existence means something to me.


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