Dear Mason,

I knew it had happened before I called your brother back. I heard his voice, fragile, tired on my voicemail. I knew the second he said your name that you were gone, even though he told me nothing in the messsage. Just... Becca. I need to talk to you about Mason. Please call me back.

I waited all day to call your brother back because I was so scared, Mason. I've been so scared for so long. So I went about my day. I went to the post-office and I waited in line to mail my book. The book I told you about the last time I saw you when you were so thin I didn't recognize you and then when you hugged me and didn't let go I said "please let go of me" because you were squeezing me so tight I couldn't breathe. I should have let you hug me longer. I'm so angry that I didn't. I should have called like I said I would. Given you a ride to the funeral but I was afraid of you. You had grown strange and unfamiliar over the past couple of years. And then one day I grew up and told you that I couldn't help you anymore. Because the drugs were too powerful and I couldn't fight them anymore. My love would never medicate you the way they did. They way they did for so long.

In the line at the Post Office my hands were shaking. I was crying and my hands were shaking so I didn't take off my sunglasses. And there was only one person working and a thousand people in line and I almost left the line so many times but then the guy in front of me started talking about the line and how much he hated the post office so we got to talking. And for a few minutes there I was okay. I mailed my package, got back in my car and drove on. I had all these errands to do today and all this busy stuff with my book and then, as if the world wasn't broken enough, Archer's changing table split in two and it was just one of those days so I went along and I dropped off my dry-cleaning and I went to the store to pick up some things and when I was finished I parked my car under a tree and I called your brother back.

I was crying before he picked up the phone. Before he told me the news. That is was drugs. Always drugs. And I wanted to kick you in the fucking balls because you WERE SO FUCKING GREAT. You were the best. You were my best friend, the one I made the promise with (when we were teenagers) that if neither of us was married by 30 and blah blah blah... Which was so totally lame and cliche but we thought it was funny. And it made us feel better about unrequited love, and anyway, we were kind of cliche. You especially. Such a romantic. You and your mix-tapes for every road trip we took. Every long weekend.

I still have some of your mix-tapes in my glove-compartment even though I told you last year that I couldn't speak to you anymore. That you needed help. Please, get yourself help.

I cut you off. You who were my best friend, my teenage partner in crime. You who used to pull the e-break in your car so we could do 360s on the culdesac in your beat-up Metro before it died and you set it on fire. You who got your tongue pierced when I told you I wanted to know what it felt like to kiss a guy with a tongue ring.

"Ew," I said. "Not you." And then you were sad and that was when we had that talk in my car on the beach and I told you that I'd always love you, just not like that, except maybe one day we could be together when we were older and not best friends. That was when we made the "when we're 30" pact, I think.

I remember because you cried. And I cried and that was the first time I ever felt truly loved by a boy. When you went to college I followed you on the weekends. I came and crashed on your couch or spooned with you in your sandy bed and you slept in your swim trunks and in the mornings we'd go surfing even though I sucked but you were really good. That was when your hair went back to blonde. Before you died it black again and I died mine black and things started to change. But we stayed best friends and when you came to stay with me in LA we'd stay up all night listening to music. A thousand mix-tapes with your name and I have them all. No mix CDs though. You never made mix CDs. Only cassettes.

When your brother called me today, he put Josh (look! I found a picture of the three of us!) on the phone and we talked about you and your music and your sense of humor. We talked about how you were the funniest person either of us had ever known. We talked about how much we loved you, how sad we were that you had to go... and angry. But mostly just sad. How unfair for such a shining light....

I told Josh about how one day I just couldn't talk to you anymore. I know you remember so I won't go into details. You weren't yourself that day and you scared me. So I told you to leave and I made you leave and so you left. And you were so sorry and so was I. And then I put Archer to bed and I cried and I cleaned up the bathroom.

"There were no drugs in the bathroom. See? I told you!"
is what I said, but what I really meant was, "I'm a mother, now. So I can't be yours."

I have buried so many friends, Mason. We have buried so many friends. So fucking many it's insane. Dozens. But you? You were more than just an old friend. You were my beloved. I feel like someone just bit off my foot. Or half my face or my spleen.

I spoke to your brother for a while and then Josh who was with him. They're in your apartment, cleaning out your stuff, and all I wanted to do today was go through mine. Find you... the way you were. The way I'll always remember you. In your old pick-up truck with the giant SLAYER sticker on the back window and how you drove like a maniac down Birmingham Street so the car would fly and I would hit you in the shoulder and we'd laugh all the way to the beach. And how the night we met you gave me your brand new Smoking Popes CD, even though you didn't know my name. It was still in its wrapping and everything.

"I'm Mason," you said. "Listen to this."

And then the next day, we ran into each other and you gave me some Mr. T Experience CD, I can't remember which one, and in the next several years, dozens more. Maybe even hundreds.

I wish you didn't have to die like this, mainly because, who are we kidding? You had so many great plans for death. You listened to Morrissey ten-thousand too many times. You would have wanted to go out with a mighty bang. Under a double-decker bus... with Keats and Yeats on your side. I know because you told me. You told me everything. And I told you everything in return, because that was how we did things back then. All my old secrets are inside you somewhere. Wherever you are. And I mourn for them, too. I mourn our memories, selfishly, because they were so great. No one can touch them, I know but fuck. Just, fuck.

I wish the last time I saw you wasn't in the stale darkness at The Saloon. I wish I didn't tell you to let go of me. I'm so sorry I told you to let go. Please know that I never stopped loving you. I never stopped believing in you. I never stopped praying that one day the drugs would lose and you would win. That we could be friends again... That I could let you back inside.

I guess in a way, that's kind of happened. You're free now. You don't have to be alone. You don't have to fight. You can start over, on some other beach with some other girl and a handful of mix-tapes. New ones. With even better music than before, because no offense, babe, but Mr. T Experience was never my favorite... I never told you that because I didn't want to hurt your feelings but it's true.

But I did love The Smoking Popes. I did. Not as much as I loved you, Mason. But still...


I guess I'll send you off with a song, then. Our song. Which is so fucking appropriate, now, listening to the lyrics that I could just kill you myself. I seriously could.

(I'll so miss you, Mason. So many of us will.)

Your Becca