The summer of 2005 was really emotionally formative for me. I was 25. In the last four months of 2004, a long relationship ended, one of my best friends died, and the other was shipped off to Iraq.
I was basically in a fog until the beginning of April when the same friend who got shipped out was blown up by an IED. (for those who don’t know, he’s alive and I’m thankful for that every day.)
I started dating someone at the beginning of the summer, and she was awesome, but we were ultimately terrible for each other and it ended. About two weeks after it fizzled out, I met my now wife.
My whole world had basically turned upside down in that almost one year span. There were two groups that I listened to almost religiously through that time. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and Reggie and the Full Effect.
So, as much as I love both of them, the memories I associate with them are all over the place.
This is probably the worst day of the year for me.
This is the only picture known to exist of Justin and me. He was my best friend but only for a very short period of time. His death, now ten years ago today, still hurts me on a regular basis.
We met online first, Justin a friend of a friend, on an IRC server hosted by a local ISP. That was sometime in 1999. We bonded over our love of old punk bands, like The Descendents and Misfits. We actually didn’t meet in person until later that year, and it was completely by happenstance. He was in his final semester of cooking school in the same building where I had just started computer school. He was riding with an old high school buddy of mine, who introduced us, and we put two and two together and figured out we knew each other already. Phone numbers were exchanged, and from that point on we were fast and great friends.
Starting then, until close to the end of 2003, Justin, our friend Tim and I spent pretty much every Friday and Saturday night together at either Eat n’ Park or Kings or if I managed to be off of work, shows. He was there when my first real relationship ended, and I probably wouldn’t have gotten through that if it wasn’t for him. In November of 2003, I got a new job, working the midnight shift, and we started to see less of each other, but still talked regularly and were still great friends.
I don’t remember exactly when it was, but he got a new job as well, working at a local Best Buy. At this time, I was becoming somewhat of a hermit. Midnight shift had gotten me into a funk, where I rarely did anything. This period is at least partially what caused my next relationship, with Nicci, to end in September of 2004. A couple of days after that, Juddy and I hung out for what was the first time in a long time, at a party that some friends of his were having. Things weren’t the same for me though, and my jealousy over his new work friends (who I, being largely an introvert, did not fit in with) lead me to retreat back into my depression.
Fast forward to November 11th. My memory is a bit vague, but I don’t think I had spoken to Justin at this point since that party, not because I was mad or anything, just because of life and such getting in the way. That night, on my way to work, I got a call from him saying that we had to hang out the following weekend. I said yes, thinking that that may be what I need to get out of my funk. Then the next day happened.
I got a call from Nicci, (we managed to stay good friends even after breaking up), saying that he was dead. I couldn’t believe it, but she assured me it was true. The first thing I did after that call was to call our friends Tim and Dave, and we all met up at Tim’s house to try to sort through what was going on. I took a couple of days off the following week for the funeral, and we all spent as much time together as possible. A lot of it is a blur because I was pretty lit for most of it as a way to escape. At 24, I didn’t have the emotional ability to process everything that happened, and I hardly still do at 40.
For anyone who doesn’t know, our son is named Justin Scott in memory of Juddy. I hope to raise him to live up the awesomeness of his namesake.