“You convinced me that you would finish this. So stay strong. Soon, we will be together. Off to another journey. You can count on me. Use me as your punching bag when you are about to quit on life. You will not go through this ordeal alone.”
These were his last words before he left for medical school.
He was always the voice of reason and probably more emotionally stable than I am (for the most part). I’m an emotional wreck lately…
I remember we met at University of Chicago for a mini research meeting concerning current medical research. He had a purple dress shirt on with nice fitted grey pants. He was the definition of handsome as he entered the room. He had an expensive-looking messenger bag with him that I found out was actually full of art journals and Lehninger’s Biochemistry book. He did not have pens. Or pencils. What an odd scientist.
His seat was somehow broken (I thought U of Chicago could at least afford amazing chairs) so he decided to sit next to me.
He looked at me and asked “Are you from UIC?” and I just nodded and said “yeah.” i handed him a fine-point pen and said “I’m not a big fan of people who are unprepared but here’s a pen. Next time I see you..you better have pens with you.” He raised his eyebrows as he took the pen out of my hands. He then gave me his business card.
And then, history was born.
After that fateful day, pens became his best friends and he would always pull out a pen out of his pocket whenever he sees me. He would always ask “Happy?” and I would hug him tightly and tell him “You’re something else and I like it”
…..He would always buy me a pack of pens. He would give them to me during the first of the month. It felt like he was paying rent. As a result, it turned into an odd addiction where him and I would always talk about the pens that were on sale. Even pens that were considered very expensive.
Despite his affluent background, the only expensive items he owned were probably his suits. dress shirts, and pants. And also his underwear. He had a thing for Calvin Klein underwear and so did I (and I still do). His parents made sure that he had the best formal attire and they always bought him the most expensive suits possible and his figure was always showcased well by his suits. The man had amazing abs as well. Attractive straight men I tell ya.
“When your dream becomes bigger than you are…when it becomes your family’s dream…when a community embraces it…you know you have something great.”
He knew what to say.
I remember one time we had a debate over a certain enzyme and appropriate substrates we can produce for it. After the discussion, we did not talk for 2 hours.
He visited my office with flowers with a card that said “Hey. Don’t be mad at me, Alzen. You’re a much better biochemist than I ever will be. I just hope I’ll become as cool as you one day.”
I remember the day too well. These made me smile so much. His girlfriend even told me that he bought her flowers quite often.
“If someone calls you cocky and they’ve only known you for less than a year, don’t listen to them. If they tell you you’re making up for your insecurities by being cocky, ask them if they’re secure enough to ask themselves the same question.”
He would always defend me. A bit too much sometimes. But its alright.
He would always see me as hi brother and even if its a tiny insult, he is quick to react and asks if he could hurt the person who insulted me. He had dreams of becoming a kick boxer when he was young and its quite frightening what he is capable of sometimes.
He gave the best hugs.
When I heard of his death, all I wanted was his embrace. And for him to buy me a pack of pens on the 1st.
I bought myself a fresh pack of fine-point pens on October 1st.
I almost cried at the store….
I know you’re up there. I’ll see you when I fulfill all my dreams.