(Note: This is not a comedy piece. My friend Andrew, who was a genuine great person, was taken away from us too soon. He did not drink, do drugs, or have a hateful cell in his body. It’s a shame what happened. An accident. So be safe out there folks, and cherish the people around you. You never know what will happen. This is an open letter to the man who made me want to not only become a better Asian, but a better person of the world. I’m a man who does not know how to really handle feelings and writing is the only way I know how. Every time I try to talk to someone about Andrew, I can’t help but to fight off tears and sorrow. So I don’t speak at all. Instead, I write.)
I really don’t know how to start this, but I’m sure not many people do. I’m going to miss you, man. You were an inspiration to my life. I remember the first time I saw you at the gym, at the Village Fitness Center. I thought to myself, “Man, who is this buff ass Asian guy killin’ it here. He must be on riods.” I was so awed by your strength that I never approached you. You also had his glare on your face, fueled by determination, which I mistook as being unkind, that scared me. Until that one day I mustered up the courage to ask you how to workout the back of my shoulders. Which you then told me to lay sideways on the bench so I can do a lateral in an upward motion. This was one of the moments that made me realize that you were not an angry d-bad gym Asian, but a kind man who was willing to offer advice. Luck had it that you were also roommates with my friend from my high school.
I remember the day Garret invited me to his room to eat the Subway sandwiches that we had bought. You and your brother arrived after we did. I don’t remember if this was during your brothers transition into the marines or right before. But I do remember me eating Subway Club and you having a Spicey Italian. It was then that you educated me on how to save money by microwaving your sandwich so you did not have to pay the extra 50 cent charge for toasting. This was the spark of our friendship that lead to many nerdy pho conversations that was sprinkled with talks of girls, sour candy induced car rides, and movies.
Even though some of our hang outs were reduced since you met Kaila, I did not mind. Despite me giving you a hard time about it, I was only joking. I actually remembered the first time I met her. It was after EDC 2013. Or 2012, I forget sometimes. But you took me to grab some pho in Daly City as I blabbered on about my misadventures and my sinful activities. I probably should have held some of my enthusiasm back, seeing how that was the first time your future wife was meeting me. But I couldn’t, I was too excited and had to tell you everything. I wanted to tell you about how I fell in love in a magical wonderland, and I could tell that day that you too had also fell in love back in reality. After many more dinner dates where I was third-wheeling it, I could tell that soon you were going to marry her. Now when I look back at it, I should have taken your invitations to go see all those scary movies that you wanted to see. But like your courage and muscle definition, I did not have the will to see movies that potentially scared the crap out of me. Instead, I limited our media pleasures to nerdy and action stuff. And hard rock music in your car.
Thanks for all of those rides, BTW. Thanks for driving me home after those nights of pho, getting me home safely after a night of drinking, and even driving Natalie home the first time you met her, despite the fact that she got super intoxicated, was uncooperative, and threw away all of our sour candy. Thanks man.
I’m not going to lie to myself and say that we were the best of friends, but I hope that you considered me to be a dear friend, like I did. In fact, I will admit that I admire you. Whenever I saw you, you gave me hope for humanity that they are people like you out there in this cruel, messed up world. You also gave me faith in myself that I can become a better person. In my eyes, you stood on this pedestal that is only shared with a select few of amazing people. You can say that I was a little jealous of you and your life: you were a great man who was in phenomenal shape, a loving wife, a great family that loved and supported you through your journey of adulthood, and you’ve built a solid group of friends that followed you as you lead them to the path of fitness and laughter, while stopping to grab your occasional bowls of pho, of course.
You were taken too soon my friend. An amazing man like you with a heart of gold that inspires all is what this world needs and we will be feeling that absent with you gone. Now, every time I have a bowl of pho at Kevin’s Noodles House (Irving or in Daly City) or maintain the proper form while I deadlift and clean, I will remember you and how you were there for me during those past moments. Even though you left me for Kaila, I don’t mind because she is an amazing woman and was your perfect match. I know that I could have made this post shorter, but I couldn’t. I could actually make this longer, but I’m not going to bore you with my blabbering, even though I could tell that you wanted me to shutup at times during pho. I just needed you to know how much of an amazing person you were. To tell the truth, you are still influencing my life. You’re the best human being I know, I aspire to be half the man you were.
I know you’re training Jesus up there, so go easy on him. See you on the other side, Andrew.