I had the same best friend from the time I was about 4 all the way through high school. I'm going to call her Suzie because we haven't spoken in years and this post isn't about her anyway. Suzie had a brother named Rob. He was 6 or 7 years older than we were and I thought he was the coolest guy in the whole world. I had other friends with older brothers, but they always ignored us. Rob would play with us. More than that, he would talk to us and teach us how to do things.
Rob was a brilliant kid and a brilliant man. A true and literal genius. He went to college with a full ride and then got a job doing something very complex and secretive with computers. Once when I was in college, we went to a coffee shop. It was the first time I had really spoken to him as an adult, and it just reinforced my belief that he was one of the coolest guys in the whole world. The last time I saw him was at his wedding years ago. It was just before he moved down south, and we didn't keep in touch. His parents still live just up the street from mine, but once Suzie stopped speaking to me I just didn't have much to do with the family anymore.
Rob taught me how to do Algebra when I was eight. I was never very good at Algebra, but I always aced the bit of it he taught me as a kid. He used to play this game with me and Suzie. They had all these inflatable beach balls in their house from Radio Shack or somewhere like that and we used them to play Staying Alive. The point of the game was that Suzie and I would run back and forth up and down the hall at the top of the stairs, and Rob would stand at the bottom of the stairs and try to hit us with the beach balls. If he did hit us, we would have to play out elaborate death scenes, which frequently entailed sprawling ourselves down the stairs head first with our tongues hanging out. This was the best game ever created.
Rob and Suzie were the only kids in the neighborhood who didn't belong to the neighborhood pool. Suzie learned to swim when we were in high school. I don't know whether Rob ever learned.
In the last few years, Rob has apparently been suffering with Parkinson's Disease and severe depression. That probably explains why he decided to jump off a bridge and drown.
The world is a poorer place.