For Keith

In seventh grade, I liked you, and we hung out at the Harvest Festival.  You took a jab at me, “Muscle weighs more than fat, you know.”  But then you offered me your coat when I was cold, that shiny red satin with Arvada emblazoned on the back and your name stitched on the front.  My heart soared, and our friendship was sealed.

Later and always, we would talk The Rolling Stones, dreaming of going to concerts, singing all the lyrics we could remember, and you doing your best Mick Jagger.  The Stones are playing as I type this, “Take me to the station and put me on a train…”  And my heart aches to think you won’t be passing this way again.

Another time, I sat in the front of Mark Carpenter’s old and lovely Mustang, discussing baseball and the fuel efficiency of speed limits while you fooled around in the back with a friend.  She would break your heart a little and in that break mine.  You deserved better.

Then, best of all, in college we ran into each other on the street in downtown Denver, sunshine and not a cloud in the sky.  The timing was right, and we spent the hours before sunset strolling the streets, laughing, talking, reminiscing, and dreaming before disappearing from each other’s lives.

I am grateful for that day and the other remembered bits, too, your sweet smile, that way you shuffled your feet, your fine penmanship, that rock star autograph, and your mad math skills.  The worst bit?  That I never told you, but hope you knew somewhere in your heart, all the same.  The Salt of the Earth you were.  May you find Satisfaction and Shelter in the sweet hereafter.