Tomorrow would have been Clay’s birthday. In junior high and high school, Clay’s birthday was a blast. A birthday on HALLOWEEN. Bonus points if Halloween fell on a Friday or Saturday night, like this year.
If this was 12 years ago:
Clay would say, “Hey, come over tomorrow night (that would be Halloween).” And since I spent most weekends either at Danny’s house or Clay’s, I would definitely be there. I’d probably find a really lame gift for him that I thought was genius but wasn’t really. I wasn’t really big on curling my hair or getting too made up, so I’d put on my usual uniform which consisted of jeans and a skateboard tee shirt. Remember you guys? I was a skater groupie. So cool.
I’d go and park in his driveway that was packed with cars, 70% of them I knew, 30% I had no clue. But Clay was friends with everyone so it wasn’t much of a surprise. I’d walk in the back door and almost every time, Clay would be downstairs with something to eat, milk, and the tv on. Or in the barn jamming. One of those. And every time, he’d greet me with a hug. And if I close my eyes and concentrate really hard, I can smell him exactly. And he’d genuinely ask how I was. And Clay always felt safe to me. I knew that, no matter what, he was always my friend. I truly loved Clay, not at all like a boyfriend, but like someone I knew I needed and who I think needed me. And I think that there are lots of people who felt that way about Clay which is part of why so many people considered him such a close friend.
And since it was Halloween, there’d be random kids here and there trick or treating (their house is set way back from the street) and there were a couple years we ended up not having candy so those kids got Top Ramen or soup. Oops. Those silly kids, trick or treating on someone’s birthday.
But Clay died way too young and his birthday is a pretty solid reminder of it.
I think he’d probably approve of our dumb little Halloween party and I suspect he’d be a guest as well. And I know he’d dress up in the best costume ever and probably scare the shit out of the kids. And then I think when all the little kids went home, Danny and he would jam or watch Seinfeld or Simpsons or a new show like Workaholics or Bob’s Burgers. And as I’m typing this, it feels like it might actually happen.
Clay was wonderful. A truly unique and one-of-a-kind soul, the type that many people never get the chance to meet, so how lucky am I?
To Connie and Jordan and Fran and John — happy birthday to Clay. What an incredible person to celebrate and remember and love and I hope you know the Prasils are doing all of that along with you tomorrow and every day ❤