Your Kind and Gentle Essence

Dear Leo,

I often find myself wondering where you would be today. Would you have pursued your dream to be in public service and change the world? Would you finally have me convinced that a Fender sounds better than a Les Paul?

I tried to remember all the memories I shared with you: AP English/Lit class, your birthday that we spent at Play-land, covering John Mayer songs in my basement… I strain to remember more. Every time I think about you, I feel like I’m sitting on a train pulling away from the station — except I’m looking out through a foggy window, watching figures on the platform slowly fade into oblivion. You came to my 18th birthday. No, 17th. No, 18th. I can’t remember. We talked on New Years Eve of 2010, but I don’t remember what about. With each wilting memory, I felt guilt and shame for not remembering more. But is it important that I remember every word we shared and every memory we made? Isn’t it more important that what I remember of you is your perpetual smile, your unrelenting optimism, and your exemplary selflessness? Because that’s exactly what I remember: your kind and gentle essence.

There are days I yearn to be able to send you another Facebook message, so we can vent about our lives and remind each other how much we’re missed by the other person. Today is one of those days. While I may not be able to count down the hours until I see you anymore, I can count the reasons why you were an extraordinary human being, and the epitome of a great friend.

Thank you for being my friend and allowing me to be yours.

– Courtney Sung


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