Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Tragic Lives of Pablo & Aaron

Pablo and Aaron are two friends that I had the extreme privilege of knowing. Two people who did not know each other, separated by geography, language and culture. Two lives that that in the end were cut short tragically in the same way. Lives made harder and lonelier through idiotic notions of family, the role of those in them and how people should live their lives.


I met Pablo while living in Central America, we both worked at the same Sports book. Pablo was an only child. His mother took ill with cancer and his father, having no one to take care of the home due to her illness, moved on with another women while his wife was on her deathbed. Pablo was left to support and care for his mother, at the age of 16, until she died. Upon her death, his father returned home and kicked him out on the streets. He was baggage when it came to his father's new family.

Pablo worked hard and managed to make a decent living, acquired a piece of property but the pain of rejection by his only parent haunted him. He tended to keep to himself and had difficulty in trusting anyone. He tried many times to connect with his dad but was met with indifference.

We became great friends quickly. He never had anyone he could trust or rely on until me. He would hang out with me, even going to gay bars with me, though he was straight. I, in turn, would go with him to college bars with him. He never judged me and I never judged him. We were both people trying to survive and enjoy the lives we had. It was extremely painful for both of us when I had to return to Canada to complete my education. I didn't know it would be the last time I would ever see him. Secretly he did.

I received a phone call 3 months later while in university.


Aaron was from my home town. We never quite knew each other well growing up; he was a metal head and a loner. I was an outcast but in a different way. Aaron's parents never approved of his "look" or his taste in "Satan" music. They tolerated him until they could legally kick him out.

We got to know each other suddenly when his girlfriend left him and started calling me. Though I was gay, I welcomed her attention because I was supposed to date girls. She was an extremely attractive girl who originally came from Ontario, adding to her exoticness I guess. He had a hard time letting go. Though things never got violent between us, we were never on good terms.

I grew up and left. Aaron eventually ended up on the streets.

Years later I was home and Aaron was at a bar I was at one night, coincidentally with a girl I use to date and now he did.

We made contact and I apologized for any grief I had caused. He actually had no ill will against me. We talked a bit and realized we had a lot in common and we both expressed how we could have been great friends if we had met under different circumstances or at least talked instead of staring each other down. I told him I was gay. He said "so what". At which point we became great friends. I found out that he had successfully beaten brain cancer, just a year before. I was shocked he someone so young would have to deal with this. What sickened me was he fought it alone since his parents had disowned him. We hung out for months. I had to return to university and we promised to keep in touch. We did for awhile. I would see him around from time to time when our paths crossed. No matter how long we went between seeing each other it was always like it was just yesterday. He relocated to a very small town with his girlfriend. A couple years went by.

I received a phone call last Thursday.

Pablo and Aaron

Pablo and Aaron, two unconnected people separated by geography, culture, and language, joined only by friendship with me and a blank slate when it comes to what people should be, both died suddenly of brain cancer. They died alone without their families who didn't even have the decency to claim the body, leaving it to strangers and friends.

Pablo left me his property which I sold and donated the proceeds in his name to a brain cancer survivors fund in his native country.

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