We just ended up in front of Home Depot one day in Indio and out of the blue, there you were. I was with Brince and a couple of other friends doing who knows what but I do remember that we saw you. You looked restless and weary and there was talk about you trying to get a job or having a job at Home Depot. It was a whirlwind day. One of those days where we just ended up places, commiserating over one thing or another. The weather was likely warm. We were probably pretty broke. We always had enough for a little bit of beer and a little bit of food. We all hung together, always having somebody to talk to and something to laugh about. We would walk into places and guys were ready to fight. We had that effect on people although we were young and we probably just wanted to eat, or watch a movie, or talk about music and girls. People were ready to take us down although we were pretty relaxed about life as a collective of friends and didn’t pursue fights. We used to take over the park in Rancho Mirage with turntables, loud microphones, and break dancing. We barely received any credit for it unless it was the police shutting us down. We didn’t do it for acclaim: we did it for freedom! I wish I could have been there for you that fateful day when we lost you to a car crash.
There was like thirty people at Brince’s Mom’s house in Bermuda Dunes every time his birthday would come around. I remember seeing you there because you provided us the music that we would listen to. When you had your head phones on, it looked like the music was personally talking to you. It was as if it was telling you profound secrets about the way we all were supposed to feel at that particular moment. I never thought that there was anything special about how we were – we just took over places with music, and beats pounding, people talking and being together. I used to be so shy I kept to myself in a little corner. Most people knew me but I just didn’t feel at ease with all the other strangers coming around. I wanted to be in a quiet place reading books. The social scene made me want to vanish into myself and the couple of beers that I was drinking. I look fondly to this period however and wish it could still be here no matter how much I have progressed in my life. I am sad today because you will never have that chance again: to make progress, or to fall back, or to think excitedly about what could be. I wish I could have been there for you that fateful day when we lost you to a car crash.
It was this big nightclub and Brince, Sean and Eugene were performing for a pretty large crowd. I remember being so excited that day setting up the sound system and doing the mic check. I ran around like a headless chicken spouting out every burning desire I was feeling. I just wanted to be somewhere else in a better place - a place I’ve only reached as I continue to live out my thirties, finally at peace with myself. I remember you walked in and we were hanging out in a group of like 15. You flashed your smile so warm and easy. Your eyes lit up as you saw me and you pulled a cassette from your pocket. “Here you go, Selim. This is the Anti-92.7 tape of some shit I mixed”. That tape was on continuous repeat every time I drove around town in my dad’s Jeep before I owned a car or much of anything. I had just graduated from UCLA in Anthropology in 2002. I was pleased with my accomplishment but deathly afraid of myself: my depression, my desire to find myself, my prospects of making it in this harsh world. I wish I could tell you I made it and ask you how your life was before it came to a tragic end. Did you fall in love? Did you have dreams to have a family of your own? Did you even have a family of your own? Did you like driving really fast with the windows down? Did you like any Football teams? Did you ever travel? Did you want to travel and learn languages and learn how to cook and learn how to play the drums? Who was your favorite comedian? Did you have a favorite song? What were your guilty pleasures? You told me once about your football days, about growing up in Indio, and I am friends with your little brother Larry so we’ve talked a couple times about life, work, and whatever else was on our mind. I understand that your life wasn’t easy until the very end. I wish I could have been there for you that fateful day when we lost you to a car crash.
I’m going to keep looking for you though as I still believe there will be a chance encounter. I’ll start here in Moreno Valley where I’m writing this as the rain pounds outside. You would be impressed by this rain. It would make you think about how California seems always the same like clockwork until out of the blue the skies open up for an hour and drop buckets. I will look for you everywhere I go and in every country I travel. I want to be on an airplane again where I can’t understand a single word that is being said until all I can hear is you, telling me to keep on going, keep believing in good, keep thinking that there will be a time where all of our friends will come together, with two turntables, and a sound system. One day, we will all be talking until it drowns out the absence that you’ve left for us to ponder. I will move quickly down every alley waiting for you to stop me and direct me home. I will walk down the grocery aisle looking for Orange Juice thinking you will be around the corner. Maybe I will turn on the radio and you’ll be doing a set, talking about the weather, and entertaining us with some tunes. Maybe I’ll be walking out of a party and you’ll ask me for a ride. Maybe I will be walking to the store and I’ll have a feeling that you will be there checking out girls or looking for a cigar. Maybe we will meet again by a pristine sunrise outside the new L.A. Fitness on Moreno Beach. But I will sigh every time because there will never be a chance encounter. I can walk every square inch of this earth for every second for one hundred years and I will never find you. I wish I could have been there for you that fateful day when we lost you to a dramatic car crash.