I’m sorry I didn’t come to your birthday weekend. I’m sorry I bailed on your family’s party in the winter too. I really am sorry. I’d say I’m sorry about not acknowledging you birthday when we originally met, but your birthday is the first of July. An atrocious birthday — we were all just tepid little interns on our first day.
You were an intern doing a transitional year internship before fleeing to greener pastures in the world of anesthesia. Life was.., idk, predetermined. I was an unmatched lost boy trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life. We started intern year in the ICU together. We did our first intubations, lines, etcetera as doctors together. You took a picture to commemorate this. We joked around and wrote our notes together. We’d go on long walks around the hospital on slow afternoons to just goof around and vent and bond. Funny thing is, I scored like fifty points higher than you on Step 1 yet you were the better intern, the better doctor. You made me want to be smarter. I still remember how torn up you were when your thirty-something patient was put on ECMO and eventually died. We did chest compressions and watched people die together.
After my girlfriend moved out, I came to your apartment. You were a good friend man. At the time, you were my only friend. From that point forward we were inseparable.
You were a friend in every sense of the word. You answered the phone when I needed help. And you know I did. In my darkest days, days when I never wanted to leave my apartment, you would pick me up and we’d go to that Mexican place and eat tacos and have a margarita or a corona or whatever. Weekly tradition. It was our spot. On days I felt non-existent you and I would make each other laugh in the hospital. Over something stupid. In my worst days when all I wanted to do was involute on my couch and be sad all night, you’d pick me up on your way to the gym and force me to come and lift with you. You could always bench more than me but I can deadlift more. We’d tease each other about this. About everything.
Before the match (round 2 heh) I was losing my mind. You wanted me to come to Puerto Rico with you and a few of the other residents the weekend before the match. Vero, who we joked was the love of my life, was going to be there. I tried to bail. Gave you every excuse I could imagine. You didn’t accept any of them. You forced me to come with you and the girls. We stayed at her family’s place in Añasco. Day trips to Rincon and Cabo RoJo. The girls would try to teach us Spanish but the only phrase we memorized was: Una fria por favor. Haha. All of these experiences are now canonical in my existence.
The following week you took my shift on match day so I could go get mimosas with my mom and panic in anticipation of what specialty and what part of the country I was going to live in. My mom had to be there because she was as anxious as I was. She loves you guys. She always reminded me how lucky I was to have found a friend like you. You, roxy and Cynthia met my mom and I after work and the five of us celebrated at those beach bars and it was one of the best days of my life. I had no idea at the time, but it was.
You’ll never know how much your friendship meant to me dude. I don’t know if I’d be here without you.
Miss ya man.