Big Love…

…so why do I sign off many of my posts with “Big Love” ? It’s a tribute to my friend Scott Nichols. I’ve lost touch with him, in fact, have no idea where he is these days or even if he’s still alive. But he always said, “Big Love” to me at the end of every phone conversation, every visit. A big hug, and “Big Love”.

It’s such a silly way to say so long. But I like it. It has heft in some weird way, it feels good to say it, while at the same time it’s silly enough without being too hokey. At the same time, it’s so over the top “hokey” that you can’t help but grin (or roll your eyes) when you hear it.

I remember Scott and I going to Christopher’s, this dive bar in Richmond that’s not there anymore. We made a bet with each other that we couldn’t get thrown out of the “worst” bar in Richmond (next to the Broadway of course) before proceeding to do just that. We got so drunk, began to act like a couple having a halacious fight, and got thrown out. It was spectacular.

I remember going to visit Mark Phillips’s quilt square with him on the Mall in Washington, the last time the AIDS quilt was ever presented in its entirety. Up to that moment, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

I remember Ouzo-filled nights, and a drunken road trip to Atlanta. We passed by the giant peach at about 2 in the morning, and thought it was a hallucination. Then we stopped at a Wafflehouse for sausage and egg sandwiches. He stayed in the car, too paranoid to come in. I watched the guy making the sandwiches, and to this day, I think that was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Wafflehouse, our oasis in the night.

Scott is a breath of fresh air, a spitfire, a silly, irresponsible, full of life, hell-bent kind of man. He never learned to take care of himself, always self-destructive, always relying on the care of others to help him through. And he would fully admit this to anyone who called him on it. This honesty made him even more appealing.

Unfortunately, this is what also ultimately made me pull away. I just couldn’t bear anymore to see him destroy himself with drink and drugs.

Now, I can’t help kicking myself for being so damn judgemental. He’s been through an awful lot in his life. Dammit, he’s got every right to drown his sorrows any way he can. At the time I couldn’t see this, I could only think of my own plight and worry that if I didn’t do something to get my own life “right” and surround myself with people who did the same, I would never be happy and free of those crutches so many people lean on.

It’s not as if I don’t have crutches of my own, even now. Judge not, right?

If I saw him today, I’d give him a huge hug and apologize over and over for being such a crap friend. I had a dream once that I did just this, and awoke with tears on my face. I hope this dream comes true. Scott, if you’re out there, I’m so sorry, I miss you, and “Big Love”.

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