Sunday, October 21, 2012
i only knew the guy for two years of my life. i worked with him, at a dumpy-ass hostel that i "managed". he was a co-worker. we would do projects together. lay floors. paint walls. hang signs.
we were thrown together by circumstance. otherwise, we would never have reason to cross paths.
his name was Mitchell Cannon. we all called him Country.
he was a black man. from the south. north carolina, if i remember correctly. i only understood half of what he said, because his drawl was so predominant. the half i heard, i loved. the half i didn't, i always imagined was even better.
why did i like him? he was kind. he was soft. he was mellow. he was honest. he had a good heart. he lived up to his nickname.
i left that job a couple years ago, and had only visited a couple times since. last time i saw Country, he was sicker than before. i learned right before i left the job that he had contracted AIDS. through a needle. yeah, Country had a drug reliance, and because of that he had caught his death.
i went to the old hostel today and asked for him. they said he had died. six months ago. my head bowed. a heavy weight suddenly rested there. i was instantly frozen with how life can stop you in your tracks. it can say "fuck you" on a dime. hell, a nickel.
i walked around for a bit and tried to enter this information into my circuitry.
i was with a friend at the time, and for many hours after. when we finally parted ways i hopped on the J train, to home. i finally had a silence within myself to process, and found myself instantly crying. heavy. on a crowded subway. i hurt. i really hurt.
i really liked that guy. i liked his open eyes to the world and his open heart to the unexpected. there are people that you know for 80 years, and there are people that you know for 2. i knew Mitchell Cannon for 2. he was a man. he was beautiful. he was alive. he was lost. he was singular. he was unique.
i will miss him.
his name was Mitchell Cannon. his name was Country.