By Drew Ellis
The sun sets across the stadium as the crack of a bat sounds to my right. Cold champagne sprays over me as I raise my hands in the air and roar with joy. I stand against the lab workstation in the front of a classroom and try to cover my black eyes and broken nose. Tall, wavy rows of corn converge as I stare at the stars in the night sky above. The jeep rattles and shakes, so I brace against the seat. Glare blocks my view, the brook runs a chill up my legs, I see the outline of a man downstream. I hear the laugh that brings a smile to my face, I don’t think, I just laugh along too…
Every time I have closed my eyes over the past 10 days, I've seen these memories of Bobby. A cinema on repeat. The vivid details of each moment, none are very long, and I'm not sure why they come to mind. It's possible each has a strong emotion associated with it or they highlight a profound realization in my life. In the end, it's not what they represent that matters, but the fact that they exist at all.
So far in my life, I can say with certainty, I have met no one quite like Bobby. From a very specific moment in the 9th grade until the tragedy last week, Bobby understood and related to me in a way that I've never fully understood.
Aristotle said: "What is a friend? A friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies."
In each other we could confide our faults and fears, our successes and triumphs. Trust became the bridge between. Anger came, and then fell faster than it rose.
On Tuesday I attempted to print out a transcript of my and Bobby's Instant Messenger interactions from the past two or so years. At 900 pages the computer froze. I'm still not sure how many total pages it encompasses, but the fact that it's more than the machine can handle delighted me to no end.
To me, Bobby was my other half. He was the optimist, the idealist, the social butterfly who had no fear of conversation. These character qualities are ones that I have had immense trouble with, so when he reached out a hand, I took it. Right now, my hope is that I learned enough from him to pull myself up. To look forward not downward, to smile when I'm sad, to accept failure as a part of life and continually push forward.
At least that's what I want to take away, to improve myself. But it's something we can all do, apply the basic lessons taught by Bobby to enrich ourselves and the world.
You don't need to cycle 1,200 miles to be adventurous, but embracing life and following passions is enough.
You don’t need to see an issue from all sides, but accepting that your perspective isn't alone is enough.
You don't need to constantly be learning, but being curious and absorbing the world is enough.
Together we can handle these tragic circumstances. And using Bobby's leadership we can act to improve the world by channeling positivity for fellow humans and striving to be our best. Because of that, I know that in me and in all of you, Bobby will truly never die.