One year when I was living with another person who was on a break from graduate school (and who I completely lost track of later, though I think she was originally from Houston, and for all I know, may live on the next block from me now), Riley came to Tuscaloosa with the theater department from his college for a theater festival that the University of Alabama was helping host. His school was putting on Death of a Salesman, but the memory of it has been overshadowed by another production–I think from Auburn University in Montgomery–of Equus.
Not, however, because Equus was so good, though it might have been. All I remember about it was that I was sitting next to Riley in the auditorium and suffering from the WORST MIGRAINE OF ALL TIME. To this day, the mention of Equus makes me feel nauseated, so you can imagine how unthrilling I found all the publicity surrounding Daniel Radcliffe’s taking the role of Alan in the play’s 2007 revival.
Riley never traveled anywhere without his guitar, so I’m sure he eventually strummed my headache away. I still kind of miss my antique bed, pictured here.
Riley took this shot of me on the same visit. I’m holding back my hair as I bend down to pick up something, not clutching my head in pain, but it makes me wonder: Do big puffy sleeves cause migraines?
Today is Riley’s birthday. We lived apart so many years that it’s only on his birthday, and mine, when I’m forced to remember that he died in 2008. I miss our birthday phone calls, and the way he always made me laugh, and his guitar. Still, the most beloved friends never really leave us.
I love you, MVP.