Rob and Caitlin grew up together and eventually drifted apart, but not really.
Robbie and I technically knew each other since we were five years old, though we didn’t become actual friends until we were about 13. We became best friends at 16. We quickly bonded over our own self-destructive natures, as well as our absolutely dark and fucked-up minds. It was comforting to know that someone else’s thoughts could go to that sick and twisty place, and that I wasn’t alone or crazy.
Well, maybe a little crazy, but we both were. We lived about 30 seconds from each other and were always down to hang out, no matter when. I’d call him and within five minutes, I was in his attic smoking a blunt, listening to his next big scheme and egging him on. We were both hilarious, if I do say so myself. Me and Robbie were always testing the limits, seeing how far we could go.
There was one time when we were 17 (I don’t remember what we were high on) and it was me and Robbie in the back of Chris’s 2001 Altima with Paul riding shotgun (to this day, I’ve never felt softer seats) and we were just driving around looking for shit to do. Me and Robbie started to get hyped up, and all of a sudden, I had the urge to have a running race with him! So we pulled over and raced to a pole in this random empty parking lot, running as fast as we could. If there was any moment to capture our friendship, it was that one…until 10 seconds later when he tripped, fell and scraped up his hand. Later that night, Robbie said to me, “You’re so cool!” I can still hear his voice saying it now. And the thing was–I felt really cool!
I was the first one of our friends to go away to college and on my last night in town, we all got trashed at Paul’s house and then moved the party to the back of the shopping center. When everyone was leaving, I asked Robbie if he’d walk home with me. We walked all the way down Woodbury Road at around three in the morning, just shooting the shit one last time. Then came the fork in the road where I went straight, and he made a left to go home.
I didn’t know it then, but that fork in the road foreshadowed our future. I eventually got my shit together and didn’t need to be drugged up to feel happy anymore. I finished college and then went on to grad school. And that brings us to seven years later–the last time I saw Robbie.
I was having a graduation party in my backyard with family and a few friends. I hadn’t been in contact with him all that much as the years went on. We’d still see each other occasionally when our friends would go out and he was still one of my best friends, but it was different. We weren’t 17 anymore, waging a war against the world…or at least I wasn’t.
I invited our friend Steph and she said, “Okay, but I’m with Robbie. Is that all right?” And I said, “Can you come without him? I don’t want to deal with his shit.”
Yeah, I said that. And she said, “I’m already with him. I thought it would be fine,” so I said it was cool. It ended up being amazing. He was great and seemed genuinely happy. It was an awesome day, and the last time we were together. He impulsively got on a train to go live in California one week after that party. And as we all know, he never made it back home.
I’ll never have another friendship like the one I had with Robbie. It was a walk (and sometimes a run) on the wild side, fueled by anarchy and peace at the same time. I know that might sound confusing, but Robbie got it. Robbie always got it.