...That I am going to miss you a hell of a lot. I thought of you this morning in the shower, and I was going to call you today to chill over this weekend, because it had been way, way too long.
And then I found out this morning that Jersey Blunt passed away at 4 AM today.
After a night of partying, he was heading home when he had a seizure, fell, hit his head, and died in the hospital this morning from complications and trauma. Yes, the seizure was probably drug-related, but, you know what? I don't give a fuck. He was probably happy. That's all that matters.
Jersey and I met in the fall of last year, under dubious circumstances. He was a 20 year old freshmen, after having to put his college career on hold for a year for parole, and I was his advisor. He was handsome-- Italian, 6 foot, 4 inches tall with black hair and bright blue eyes, a big nose, and a wide mouth that smiled easily. He was charming; cunningly, stunningly intelligent; rib-achingly funny, and had a heart as big as his hands. Being the oldest and most experienced in the dorm house also made him the most popular. Unlike most people, Jersey never turned anyone away from chilling with him-- the awkward, the unpopular, the underdogs-- all were welcome. He was kind. He was polite. I have never, ever seen that kind of respect and caring from an alpha male, and I probably won't see it again for a long time. He had a set of manners on him that would have made his New Jersey Jewish mama proud. He ironed his khakis before going to meet with his parole officer, for chrissake.
Though he had a shady past, he was trying to turn as straight and narrow as a natural-born hustler can. I got involved; maybe a bit too much, but that's a part of my life that made me learn, made me grow, and taught me invaluable lessons. He was possibly the most protective and caring guy I have ever even loosely been with-- he protected those around him fiercely, in quietly assertive ways. He made me promise to buy only from him, so he would know what I was taking, and would know the quality, where it came from, how much, the effects, and the dangers. He was the first there to watch your back. He was the one who would call you right back when he saw a missed message, even for something not important. He was the one I called when I was tripping hard, panicked, and didn't know what to do. He took care of me. Calmly. Soothingly. Totally. When he left for the summer, I quit that lifestyle, and the few times I saw him this fall, it seemed like he was brushing it off, too.
I saw him last week, when I was running to a meeting-- met him coming down the stairs I was going up with another one of the SoHo boys. We chatted for awhile, catching up, making plans to party together again. He asked me to let him know of any jobs I heard of that could be interesting. Dealing had stopped being his main income. He was moving on.
Some things, however, would never change. His jaw looked a little funny. Did he get punched? Was it swollen? A toothache or dental procedure? I peered at it until I couldn't help but wonder any more? "Lookit me for a second," I asked, and when he got squirrely and started blushing and fidgeting, I knew I had him.
"Awww..." he started, but I persisted-- "No, no-- look at me!" He bent down so I could see him better, and we were almost in the same position as that afternoon at the beginning of us last fall when he tucked me up to his chest and under his chin on the sidewalk as people and cars passed and snowflakes drifted down.
"Are you...chewing?" I asked him.
"Naw, I'm not chewing," he said, his eyes darting around, not looking at me, a sure sign he was embarrassed and trying to get out of it. "I'm not like Graf and spitting all over the place, but yeah, I have a lip in."
"I dunno. I used to chew. I got drunk last night and bought a tin. Don't want to let it go to waste."
The guy could deliver an Oscar-worthy act to professors, faculty, friends, and members of the judicial system, but he still could never,ever lie to me. Not about drugs, not about girls-- not even about homework.
He still was into personal use of drugs, however.
He explained it to me this way, as we stood on the porch one night, smoking and debating String Theory. (Yes...String Theory. He could have gone Ivy. He made me feel ridiculously slow and dim.) "It's like that-- like String Theory. Everything I do, opens up my mind a little more. It stretches limits and makes me grow."
He was happy. He knew the risks. Knowing him was to know to expect something like this. Loving him was to love all of him, bad habits and all. Since last November, I have always awaited the phone call saying he was either back in jail, or had died. It has always been a possibility with him, but that's ok-- that's how he lived his life, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Not a second was left not lived to the fullest.
He introduced me to Purple. Gave me free beer; gave me the chance to beat him funneling my first time ever; always had sick new music to share with me; was always dependable to open the front door, help out with the other boys, or offer to lend me a few (hundred) bucks when I was struggling. Taught me what "mugobs" were, and that you should be able to depend on a man to get in touch with you, and never failed to tease me in the most delightful ways. I will always regret what I wasted when I did the "professionally right" thing and didn't get with him. Let that be a lesson to me-- take those chances, and live like Jersey did. That is a 6'4" gap in my life that no one will ever fill. I will never hear that "Bonita Applebaum" ringtone again.
He was 21.
Keep it easy, killah-- I will always, ALWAYS remember you.
The biggest XOXO of them all, for the biggest dude.