Gray was probably the first person I knew who took writing poetry seriously. He’s the only person I’ve met with the name “Gray,” and I loved him for that.
Many people who are mourning right now knew him far better than I did, but I still feel compelled to share my thoughts. The greatest tragedy I can think of is that not enough good memories of a person are shared.
Frankly, I have no idea how I met Gray, except that he was friends with all of my older friends, and I was that freshman in high school trying to spend time with the artsy kids. There were a few of us who got together on a semi-regular basis at a coffee shop called Cafe Diem and discussed poetry, art, literature, and music. We called ourselves PALM (get it?). I remember Gray was taking college courses in creative writing and literature and I thought that was so cool.
My most vivid memory of Gray, though, was one time when I went to his house with the same friends from PALM. We were sitting around talking and the house phone rang. Gray picked it up and immediately shouted, “WHAT?!” A moment later he cringed and walked into the other room saying, “I’m so sorry. This is Gray.” It was my mom calling to see when I would be home. She was justifiably insulted, but I was amused then and I still am now.
The last time I saw him was at a Stewart Davis concert in 2006. He looked unwell then, and I worried about him. But in the years after, it seems that he did exactly what I expected of him when I knew him in high school: become a magnificent artist.
Friends and acquaintances aren’t supposed to die in their twenties and thirties. That’s really the only take-away.