"I remember 2009 in the same way you might remember a dream: Some of the facts have intermingled with fantasy and I probably got smaller laughs then I remember or perhaps they were larger. The year started off with a surprise in my home town of Riverside, great friends and good times is how I remember most of that night. I danced with the waitress and she kissed me on the cheek, I smiled. In 2009 the only girl that I ever tried to love got married. I was told the ceremony was quite beautiful and I hear she is doing very well. I think of her from time to time and smile knowing that a girl that I once loved, and perhaps always will, found the bond that we could not make.
In the summer I took my first real vacation in years. We took a train north to Oregon where we met a lot of people who reminded me of us. With full hugs and big smiles, we reunited with old friends, who were there when we started to become the people we are now. It reaffirmed that we would still be together when we were done being whomever we happened to grow into. The days were sky blue and the nights star-filled. The kind of place you'd never want to leave, the kind of people that I will never stop loving. I found myself ecstatic and convinced myself that some bonds can not be broken.
The summer of 2009 was one of the happiest I can remember, but as the summer came to a close I was taught a lesson that I was not prepared for: The lesson that some bonds can be broken, that sometimes, your heart will break in ways that you can’t repair, that sometimes one of the bright spots in your life can turn into a hole in your heart, and you cant fill it, you cant help it, and every time you think about it it’s like the ocean crushing down on you, and you can’t breathe.
There is something beautiful about being brothers, when you can walk through life knowing that there is someone out there who doesn’t care about any of the things that you agonize over. People who can love you as good or as bad as you get, tall or fat, short or skinny, prince or prick. It’s not something that I’m fully able to understand. It is my opinion that it is something that takes a lifetime to comprehend. I don’t know why we were so close. I don’t know what it was that made us such good friends. I do know that I miss my brother, and I fear that I will always be haunted, not by the memories that were, rather by the memories that will never be, the experiences that we never had a chance to share. A brother lost, a good man, a good friend. I found myself unable to focus.
You know that feeling where the walls are closing in on you, even when you're outside? My lack of enthusiasm was apparent in my everyday life and in my work. After a short time I was let go from my job. I felt like I had hit rock-bottom, and my depression began to envelop me. I was broke, the bills were beginning to pile up and I could feel myself drifting away into my own sorrow. But you will be pleased to know that I am not a pessimist! I am an optimist! I like to look on the bright side, and while losing Robby was to date, the darkest time in my life, it is good to remember that it's always darkest before the dawn. I guess through his death Robby taught me my greatest lesson: That right when you get knocked down and you feel like you cant get up, right then, right in that moment, that’s when you have to. That’s when I reached up, and wouldn’t you know it, all the people who loved me reached back.
I loved Robby with my whole heart and I know that’s why it still hurts, but I also know that allowing myself to love and to be loved is what turns your friends into your family. This year taught me that my friends are my family because I love all of you and every time we meet I’m going to try my best to allow you into my heart and, maybe with a lil’ luck, I'll get into yours. So in 2010 let’s go for a bike ride or maybe we could have a picnic. Let’s go to the bar and drink too much. Let’s laugh till it hurts, let’s cry until it doesn’t hurt anymore, and after that lets do it all over again. Let us warm ourselves in the glow of our souls and never forget that through each other we can reach heights never before imagined.
My name is Joe Zavella and if you’re reading this, that means I love you and in 2010 I would like to show you."
Joe Zavella hails from California's High Dessert but is currently "funemployed" while getting ready to go back to school in Riverside, CA. To catch him in his natural environment, watch him on any dance floor.
If you'd like to read up some more about Joe and his friend Robby, check out his blog, 100 Days of Robby, where Joe is recounting his favorite memories with his best friend, who is sadly no longer with us.
Also, Joe's somewhat of a twitterer. Follow him @joedancemachine.
If you missed any of the previous entries in this collection, here are the links.