Troy DuncanSubmitted by ArdAtak at 2016-05-06 14:27:04 EDT
Rating: 2.0 on 4 ratings (4 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
"Anyone feel like rolling with my boy Troy? He's driving solo."
Garrett was leaning his spiky blond head in through Marty's passenger window. I could smell the gum on his breath and cologne on his collar.
Like most 20 somethings in the early 90's we were all a little baked and self-conscious; easily comforted by being around those we knew were as screwed up and neurotic as ourselves. The thought of leaving the friendly confines of Marty's Mustang and jumping in a car with a stranger put an abrupt end to our laughter, all of us considering if we really felt like taking a chance on a new character in our current state.
"Sure, I'll go." I said.
"I may not have your movie-star good looks but damnit I'm confident and charismatic." was probably what I was thinking sub-consciously. I figured I could leave Marty and the boys in his ride and meet this new "Troy" character. After all, he can't be too bad if he's meeting up with us to go to a rave.
I hop in the convertible VW and instantly feel the warm glow of one the oldest souls I've ever come across. Troy's inner peace was palpable and I knew we were already friends before I even had a chance to shake his hand or return his smile.
"We're stopping off at DJ's." Garrett said as he smiled and rubbed Troy's brillo head. "Keep an eye on this guy. Make sure he doesn't get lost."
"OK Snoop" I tease him back for needlessly carrying a gun to a rave.
We start chatting on the drive down, mostly covering topics only boys in their early 20's talk about as well as subjects of a more spiritual nature. Like my father, I can read people in seconds. I knew right away that we were cut from the same cloth. We'd be friends forever.
"Have you ever been truly euphoric?"
"I think so."
"I'm truly euphoric right now."
The evening was epic as all raves were in those days as we danced, explored people, and travelled the cosmos. Man could he dance.
This was my introduction to Troy Duncan. One of the most unique and coolest cats I've ever had the pleasure to call my friend. To say that Troy was "Cool" would be a tragically generic understatement. He had deep, true blue, jazz musician confidence as if he was surfing the wave of life - effortlessly carving turns and limping along to the beat of his own built-in I-Pod.
No matter where he was living, I always felt welcome to crash at his pad. I once even brought along 8 other rowdy boys when he and Luke were living in Chelan and they graciously housed us all with no complaints. Another time Matt and I brought the Jens over and crashed at the Duncan mobile home with Kelly and Dave Bartosh.
I remember sitting at Chelan park, basking in the warm summer sun, watching Troy and Luke run their jetski business, and feeling envious of the joy-filled peaceful life he was living.
I remember sitting in the King County Prison visitors room and watching Troy's mother cry as she pressed her palm against the glass, against his palm on the other side, feeling helpless as I held the food and books the guards would not let me give him.
I remember opening night at his club, SuperHighway, fully decorated with his own paintings and artwork. The proud smile on his face. The paintings looked different in a public venue. No longer the pencil sketches I used to flip through in his loft; They were real.
I remember skiing at Chrystal Mountain, catching flicks at the Egyptian, dancing at the Naft, driving to Chelan, Marty's bachelor party, endless nights lost in infinity. It is in these adventures and roller-coaster rides, as you peel away the husks of life, that a man's true character is revealed. You get to size him up and find out if he's truly the warrior he projects. You find out if he's someone you'd want in the foxhole with you. In the jungle. Across the ring.
Know this: He was made of granite.
He had his dark days. Sometimes we'd spend an entire day together and he'd only say a few words. On days like this I could really see the tortured artist living in his soul. Living, struggling, creating, destroying. I didn't care. Comfortable silence is something only true friends can enjoy.
I ran into him at Mo's a few months before Riley was born. I unloaded about how hard it's been living with a pregnant woman. A recent father himself, he expertly broke down how women's minds work when they're pregnant and offered advice on how to deal with them. Man was he good with the ladies.
"A pregnant woman is liquid because she flows. She carves arcs and curves in the vessel she forms. She is moved by the moon."
Later on, after Max was born, we compared notes on fatherhood over a beer at Mr. Lucky's.
"I’m not going to give you any advice."
"What? I just had my 2nd kid and things are getting crazy around the house. I look to you for some Troyism, and you tell me you got nothin'?"
"You are going to get advice from so many people, so take the advice they give you, nod politely, thank them, think about it, and then make your own decision."
The frequency of my interactions with friends has gone down as fatherhood has claimed larger portions of my time and my friendship with Troy was just another casualty as I went from seeing him every week, to every month, to maybe once every few months, and perhaps only a couple of times a year since 2006.
Troy had a good life. He had his ups and downs like the rest of us. At times he had this Andy Warholesque syndrome which made him brilliant and erratic at the same time. Great art comes from great suffering. Through it all, he managed to touch many lives and make the world a happier place floating on his art and his music.
I remember his words ... "It is what it is" ... "Let it go" ... "Pay attention" ... "be true" ... "Be True" ... "BE TRUE"
Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end,
Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone.
And I never see my old friends face,
For life is a swift and terrible race,
He knows I like him just as well,
As in the days when I rang his bell.
And he rang mine but we were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men.
Tired of playing a foolish game.
Tired of trying to make a name.
"Tomorrow" I say "I will call on Troy
and let him know that he's still my boy".
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
And distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corner, yet miles away,
a call from Luke, "Troy died today."
And that's what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.
- C Towne