Wednesday, March 8, 2017
I said a few posts ago that 2017 seemed to be shaping up to be something else, and damned if that ain't the truth. I met Pete some time last semester. I'm thinking around September. I'd seen him around, the random cute white guy that was working maintenance at my intern site. I saw him in passing one day, and took a moment to introduce myself. A few minutes into our conversation, he explained that he had a background as a substance abuse counselor. I looked at the wheel barrow in his hands and gave him a confused look. Then he explained that he'd worked for the company previously, but left when he relapsed and feared he'd start mucking up, so he stepped down. The CEO of the company was kind enough to take him back until he could be trusted again. Once he proved himself, he'd be promoted again.
He was always kinda goofy. We shared a love of dirty jokes and cursing. As I sat at my intern site, he'd stop in and check on me. I joked that if I had a better body, I'd be a stripper. He said "ain't no shame in my game, I'd have no problem being a stripper if I was in shape." Knowing how he was, I completely believe him. He told me about his ex-wife and how because of his drug abuse, his marriage fell apart and he subsequently lost his visitation with his daughter. His goal was to reestablish visitation.
He was supercute, but being white, honestly it took some getting used to for me. I realized recently that I'm not really physically attracted to white men, but Pete was different. Honestly, when we met, I thought he was mixed. Nope, dude was white. It didn't matter though. Our friendship was unlikely, but solid. He and I went to lunch at Whole Foods one day and we sat near the exit. A black guy walked out the door and I swear I heard him grunt as if he was expressing unhappiness with my "relationship" with a white guy. Truthfully, my great friend Reisha was the one that convinced me to get past my hang up over his race. She pretty much said "if you don't make it a thing, it won't be a thing." And she was right. Once I made the decision to not sweat his race, it made it easier to get to know him and adore him.
January 2, 2017, he was promoted to working in YouthBuild, a division of my job. I was so excited for him, I immediately texted him and told him how proud I was. A month ago, he let me know that he was closing in on the day for him to move out of the halfway house he'd been staying in. Him moving to another spot meant we'd finally be able to hang out. During that same conversation, I admitted to being attracted to him. I was actually surprised when he admitted feeling the same way about me. He promised me that we'd finally get to spend some time together once he got to his new spot. I drove him home a week later. Once we stopped, we chatted. It was so awesome to see his home and share his excitement of being able to move soon.
Three weeks later, he'd moved into his new spot. I asked how he dug the new spot. He said it was nice. He was busy and we didn't get to see each other much, but I still stopped to buy him a housewarming gift. I eventually decided to give him an hourglass, as a symbol of the "one day at a time" mantra that goes with his time in recovery. I left the gift in my car, and waited for an alone moment to give it to him. We tended to communicate away from prying eyes, for obvious reasons. I looked forward to the day that I could see his face as he opened it. I shot him a dinner invite Thursday afternoon, asking about Friday night. On Friday he shot me a text saying that he'd had a long week and would just chill at home. I was irritated, but I've made it a point since early on not to pressure him. I knew that his sobriety was still a struggle for him so I'd let things happen when and how they did.
Today I had a meeting with my intern supervisor. We sat around with another coworker, chatting casually. The coworker turned his laptop to me, showing the email that announced that Pete was gone. I went numb. So numb. My coworker explained to the supervisor what happened. The coworker walked me outside for air. I cried. I stared into space and I cried. Pete Hust died. My homie was gone. My friend. My confidant. My white guy. I once called him "hood" to which he responded by calling me the same word. I denied it. He insisted that I was too. While in the car, I told him I was in a Dixie Chicks kind of mood. He said I was the only woman from Camden, New Jersey who listened to the Dixie Chicks.
Pete is gone. Only a handful of coworkers knew how much Pete meant to me. Those that did hugged me and checked in on me. Oddly enough, I'm surprised how much no one knew we kicked it, although we did keep things casual and private. My other supervisor, who I've been extremely close to since last year didn't know either. I almost told him one day. But I wanted to respect Pete's privacy. It came out today though as I lost it in my supervisor's office. I miss Pete so much. Oddly enough, I never got a picture with him because the chance never came where we were both available and looking our best. But it was definitely on my mind. Thank you, Pete. You will always be remembered.