In moments of trauma, I'm struck by how normalcy just... keeps happening.

I'm sitting in shock.

My whole world has changed in a single moment.

I don't know what to do with my hands. I don't know what to do, period. I open Twitter, because my brain is scrambling and.. I don't know why I open Twitter, maybe I need to feel normal. Messing with my phone feels normal.

My timeline hasn't changed. Everyone's talking about the same things that encapsule this morning's zeitgeist. Life is happening, all around me. Everything is normal.

But it isn't.

Of course it isn't.

One of my best friends from college is dead.

I have to remind myself to use the past tense. He was. Not is. 

Dustin was like family. He was dear to me... but this isn't about me. He was a genuine, hilarious, loving person. He was one of my favorite people to cook for, to spend an afternoon with, to laugh with on a tennis court, to meet at our favorite Salvadorian restaurant.

I can hear his chuckle in my head. I can see his smile.

He's gone. I can't believe he's gone.

Of course death begets nostalgia. Here are a few of my favorite Dustin memories. Moments of joy. 

The Ventriloquist

First, the funny anecdote. Dustin created music. He was great at it. One day, in 2013 I think, we sat in my living room talking about his music. Dustin mentioned that he wanted a sort of persona for his music - and he landed on "ventriloquist." You know, he said, like the puppets on strings. We asked if he meant "marionette." He did. We laughed about it for hours. I'll never forget the look on his face when he realized his mistake. 


When my ex left, Dustin didn't take sides. He was family to both of us. Dustin made a point to text me - often. He'd invite me over for a game of tennis. That was our thing. We were both horrible at tennis, but damn if we didn't have fun. Those afternoons meant the world to me. 

"I just want you to know: if I were a lot better at tennis, I'd be whooping you right know." -- Dustin

"I just want you to know: if I were a lot better at tennis, I'd be whooping you right know." -- Dustin


Dustin lived with me on two separate occasions - once when he needed a free place to stay during an unpaid internship, once while job hunting after college. During the second occaion, Bioshock infinite was released. My ex-husband bought it, left it on the table, and went to work. We got home to find Dustin playing my ex's brand new Bioshock. When he heard the door, he frantically turned it off and looked at us, sheepishly, like a teenage boy caught watching porn. It was hilarious. Of course my ex didn't care that Dustin played his video game. 


Dustin had a distinctive laugh. A quiet chuckle, but so emotive in his face. Dustin loved playing footsie with my dog. She'd pounce on his feet and gnaw on his toes. Dustin's face was pure delight, that silent laugh evident in his features. That's how I want to remember him.


Love you, Dusty. You were sunshine in my life. I miss you already.