I first met James during theater class in high school. He was chewing on a pen and looked up, saying, “I’m sorry, I’m being rude!” and held the pen out toward me. He had a sarcastic, dry sense of humor that never failed to make me laugh. We orbited around each other over the next four years, as he dated several of my friends and eventually moved away to another state.
A group of us traveled down to Florida for spring break our senior year and met up with him as we drove through Atlanta, where he was living at the time. He showed us around his city and made us giggle as we browsed thrift stores and sipped Cokes over lunch. We stayed in touch over phone calls and texts as I attended college in Michigan.
I glued bright pink feathers onto a homemade Valentine’s card one year to cheer him up. He was clearly depressed and talked about killing himself, though it was always hard to tell if he was just making dark jokes. One time he insisted that if he did kill himself, I wouldn’t find out about it for months. He shot himself later that year.