I lost my best friend. The pain has been excruciating. I haven’t felt grief like this since my brother died.

The depth of my sorrow washed over me. I have been inconsolable. I questioned the universe, my faith, the meaning of life…my life.

I immediately began to self-medicate to dull the agony in my heart. I couldn’t face a world without Rick. I even ate a steak.

I figured if the world could take out someone without warning, maybe being a vegetarian was a mistake and I’ve denied myself meat for no reason. I Door Dashed a ribeye meal from Outback.

I immediately got sick, but I ate the whole thing over the course of the day barfing in between.

My sadness cuts through me, much like that steak did. Just when I think some of the pain has subsided, a memory creeps in and I feel like a searing knife has stabbed me in my chest. I can’t breathe. I’m panicked. I’m grief stricken all over again.

Rick and I were buddies. We were tied together as baby teachers. I think he was the better teacher. I watched him. Cotaught with him. Made jabs at students over which jolly rancher was best. Grape or apple. I saw the ease at how he taught. It was magic.

We also had fun. One time discussing equations Rick ended up solving the equation to get VD. He said, “Do you get it?” With blank stares from the kids and only my blaring laughter, we moved on.

Rick and I just bonded. We were young. Baby teachers. We closed down every open house night after party and every house party we went to. We were each other’s confidants. We kept each other’s secrets.

We taught side by side for years. His heart went in a direction I never thought it could go. He got married. When everyone seemed to cast him off, I wished him well and only the best for his future.

The future led to Rick teaching in Dubai for five years with a divorce in the process. It’s a story only Rick can tell and wanted to tell in a novel he had yet to write.

In his time in Dubai, we never lost touch. Phone calls every summer. A visit. A few emails. Then after five years, he moved home.

Right away we got together. We hung out with drinks. Movies. Movies in the pool and parties. Rick never missed one of my birthdays. Or a pool night. Or a random party. He was always there.

Shortly after his return, we began going regularly to movies and breakfast together at the Cannery. We did this at least once a month.

One time, our movie fell on Valentine’s Day. I told him you’re my valentine. He laughed and said I was crazy. But agreed to be my valentine, just for the few hours.

Rick and I went to a few Halloween parties. He relented to be my Robin very easily because he knows I’m Batman. We had a great night. It was his first year back from Dubai. We had a couple conflicts with some former coworkers but Rick rose above it. We partied on.

Our last Halloween, were Bob Ross and his happy trees. Rick was so happy to find the wig. He was super stoked to make the paint palette he carried around all night. None of the colors were green like my trees. But, who cares. We had a blast. And there was a stripper pole.

Rick and I really got things rolling with our movie reviews. We had seen a lot of movies together. But then, we saw Widows. Great cast. Total dog shit of a movie.

Viola Davis holds a Scottie dog throughout the film. At some point it becomes a plot point, but it takes the whole movie of her with this dog. Rick and I groaned.

From that, was birthed our dog rating system. 1 dog is a great movie, the best. 5 dog is terrible. Rick made a spreadsheet. We tracked all our movies. Backlogged all the movies we had seen and rated them.

We would discuss the movie on our car ride home. In-depth. Why did it deserve the rating? Why was it good? Why was it so bad it was good?

When Covid hit, we couldn’t go to the movies anymore. But during Covid we would have a google meet. Then, at some point after a few weeks it occurred to us that we could still review movies and meet via video. So that’s what we did.

Rick and I over the course of five years reviewed over 200+ movies. We were trying to get to 100 a year. But we made 89 during Covid.

This doesn’t flow with the writing but rick went with me to the cabin a few times. The last time we hiked. It was easy for him. He was walking eight miles a day. I was 300 pounds. I cried and he just told me one step at a time. We did it. Then, went back and watched movies all night and rated them. He picked all of them. He was so happy.

Rick and I talked every week for many hours. Plus we sent screenshots of our data usage from our phones. He loved to shame me about my time on bumble and joke he was signing up for an account to get his minutes up.

Every week my phone reminds me I have a meeting with Rick on Saturday for eternity. Also, my data usage dings every Sunday and I screenshot it with no one to send it to.

I went a week without crying until yesterday. Then, the memories flooded me. And my heart hurt. I cried. I’m crying now. I miss my friend.

I miss the movie we never got to rate Wildcard. I’m upset Rick put a movie in the cue and now I’ve got to watch it without him. I’m sad I don’t have my partner in crime anymore. My Robin to my Batman.

I know my heart will heal but grief takes time. I just remember what my friend Pat said. Grief is like the ocean tide. I felt that. I’ll feel it again.

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