I no longer know birthdays; aside from my immediate family, a few somehow-still-remembered childhood friends, my most recent exes, that’s the type of information I glean from my machines. I do not mind this. I do not think it signifies some end of sympathy, some un-fuck-giving of friendship. It’s more like the way I sometimes rely on autocorrect while typing–I have the ballpark information, and these funny little ticking beasts make me more precise. This does, however, occasionally lead to surprises.

I for some reason bother to click “and 1 other,” to know who else is turning something, who else is going to a fancy dinner or ignoring a barrage of notifications, who else is going to get way too drunk or get some jewelry. It’s you. You won’t be doing any of that. Not ever, no, not again. I don’t think I ever saw you on your birthday; our friendship was for summers, and for long-distance calls. 

You’re in the ground, or in some scattered ashes, I was no longer close enough to know. You are over, over, ended. But your voice is still playing through my speakers, like it always has. 

I suppose this is a reason to write music. So that even in the face of a sudden drop dead, even when the pieces of us that belong to you get pulled through our chests and plunged into the dirt, into the late-night waters of the Long Island Sound, even when I will never, ever see you again, not to laugh at our matching tattoos or smoke cigarettes in the driveway of my mother’s house or trespass in New York City private parks, even when it will never stop hurting to know that I should have gotten on that fucking plane to Texas like I said I would, even when the closest I will ever get again to holding you is your beautiful shaking girlfriend crying in my arms, even when my shit memory is fading and fading, I will always have your voice. We will always have the sound of you to hold us. 

Fucking hell, Jay. I miss you so fucking much.

I don’t even know how old you would be today. I guess I could do the math. Thirty-six. 

There we are, all those years ago, somewhere floating in time. And even when my body joins the pile, every grain of sand we stepped on will remember. 

Jason Rosenthal, I will miss you always. Thank you for everything.

If you want to hear the sounds I’m hearing, here are links for streaming: 

On the Might of Princes - Where You Are And Where You Want To Be (2002)

On the Might of Princes - The Making of a Conversation (1999)

On the Might of Princes - Sirens (2003)