“Across The Sea”
Oh, How We
Remember Thee

I’m missing people a lot lately, especially my inseparable buddy Ross, who regularly stated that he knew I could achieve the impossible despite me crying on the phone, struggling to convince him I was a loser and would never amount to anything. He saw something in me that no one else did. Ross was the only supporter I had who expressed that I should not be on all those drugs and that they were destroying my predestined intellectual capabilities.

Dude worked his ass off as a paramedic yet still found space through his busy schedule to drive me to L.A. Fitness and have me swimming laps in the pool after work while assuring to disburden me of my pharmaceutical-provoked obesity. He insisted I exercise often and would use a timer and shout at me as if he were a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, demanding, “Faster, faster, now swim this one even faster than before!” At that juncture, I don’t think I quite understood what he meant by better than before, but in some respect, I must have, because, presently, I’ve made it my life’s promise to do just that.

I will not lie — he escorted me to Hooters frequently after the gym. His reward for me enduring all those tiring workouts was treating me to dinner after each exhaustive nautical torture treatment. It might have canceled out all the calories I had vigorously burned, but together we savored nothing more than a seductive waitress blessing our taste buds with a plateful of hot wings. Ross used to make fun of me because I preferred boneless wings. He’d tell me that boneless wings were prepared from rat meat and that only real men eat their meat off the bone. Setting aside the fact that he fabricated that whole rat reference up, it still makes me laugh. And, due to that fond memory, I choose to disbelieve his myth and consider it without merit. Boneless, if you will.

Ross had many outstanding talents alongside his knowledgeable perspective of the culinary arts. One of my favorites was his gift of gab with the women. Every member of the fairer sex loved chatting with this genuine ladies’ man. A girl he was very enamored of was both my high school Ex and, for a short yet sweet Cloud 9 minute, his fiancé. If I recall, he proposed to her on a snowboarding ski slope — he was a true romantic. Years later, that so-called punk rock Avril Lavigne wannabe hung out with Ross and me. I told him she was deceitful then and hadn’t changed her stripes since. Nevertheless, he forgave her behavior and favored her with an undeserving keepsake.

Not by a long shot would I have sloughed off an instance like that. Still, it was among the countless teaching moments he provided which benefit me to this day. If nothing else, Ross’s profound ability to forgive is likely what inspired me to assemble this never before revealed chronological reflection.

In an altogether different vein, we had a passion for shooting pool. While driving to our favorite billiards club, the Hilton Cue, we’d sing Weezer tunes. Overall, our penchant for Pinkerton overrode most people’s admiration for their more widely hailed Blue Album. Uniquely, I didn’t need to be stoned or under the influence with him like other friends. We simply valued each other’s company.

When Ross and I weren’t hustling each other in a game of 8-Ball, we lectured to and fro over what heavy metal is out-and-out worth bangin’ our heads to. Ross loved Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold, while I opted for the poignant Swedish rhythms of Opeth. We may not have cared for all the same music; however, we had one sole obsession we couldn’t agree more on — a weekly impromptu appetite for jamming involving just the two of us. While I considered myself a terrible guitarist and incapable of composing a melody to save my skin, my brother Ross appeased me by us rockin’ out for a couple of months in my parents’ basement.

The only time I wrote any music was when I was kickin’ it with my homie. Ironically, I addressed a work in progress to him a few days before he “continued his journey,” after which he awarded me a text on an old Metro PCS phone, which to my joy, read, “Ryan, that’s the best-written song I’ve ever heard!” Adding, “I can’t wait to play it with you!” I wish I had the chance to perform it with him and will treasure that text for the rest of my life, granting he was, by no mistake; the first individual to compliment me on anything I both created and adored — thus instilling in me a profusion of sheer confidence.

My friend, it devastated me when your dad snatched your drum set away after your passing. It was as if another crucial part of you was stripped from the deep-seated quittings of my heart. I bear in mind every aspect of that day, which coincidentally fell on my 30th birthday. My parents threw me a party at home while attempting to relieve me of my mournful disposition. They invited a bunch of folks I barely knew or liked in an effort to help me celebrate; although the only person I truly wished to be there was you.

Ross’s number and email address are and always will be my most cherished contact. I cannot bring myself to delete either of them. Instead, once in a while, I would emulate sending him a message akin to “What’s up?” or, “You’re the coolest, Rossman!” It was in those lonely mindsets I prest that he would write me back and momentarily rid me of my exceedingly solemn existence.

It is my sincerest hope that Ross’s mom and dad are somehow guided to view this post. I’d pray they reckon I miss their son profoundly and that I reflect on the warm and graceful spirit he represented on this earth every day, even if it was for only a brief moment in our lives. Finally, I wanted to mention that while editing this story in Grammarly, it suggested I amend the incorrect tense of the word “was” to “is” where I mentioned (even if it was for only a brief moment). I’d give anything for Grammarly to be accurate with this editorial assessment.

Clearly, computer software can have a way of seeing the beauty that was Ross while wishing he still surrounded us with his presence.

You are forever in our hearts.


All of us whose lives you’ve touched.

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January 30, 2023



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