He was tall and slender, even his nose. I think he had one outfit for winter and one for summer. In winter he would wear a black button down shirt, dark jeans, dark shoes. In summer, a tshirt, dark jeans, and dark shoes. When we went to an overnight conference, he could fit all of his clothes into a small bag, no bigger than what he carried when he went to work with his lunch. I soon realized this was a better way to travel, and took to paring down the clothes I would bring. Even now, I pack lighter than almost everyone else I know. Still not as light as Evan, though.
He moved to UB toward the beginning of our service. I saw him walking down the street one day when I was in the car with my boss and another guy who worked in my office. They were taking me back to work after lunch or something else I can’t remember. I saw Evan strolling down the street and told them to pull over, that I saw a colleague I had to talk to. They pulled over by the president’s palace and I ran up to Evan, “What are you doing here???”
If he hadn’t moved to UB, we wouldn’t have become friends. During our training, he had been stationed in another town, and during the trip to Mongolia, he had already become acquainted with other people, as had I. There were 6 of us in UB, I think. Maybe 5? Definitely 5. Plus the guys in the town so close I have forgotten its name, but it seemed like Chris was always there. Chris bounced between staying at my apartment and at Evan’s, that first year.
Evan was bored at his job. We were all kinda bored in UB. We bounced around, going to the weird sad amusement park that had rides that OSHA deemed laughable, went to the video store with private rooms and watched Japanese movies that I tried to translate, drank endless Borgeo, played scrabble with made up words, and he tried to teach me chess. Evan would gently mock my fitness levels. We went ice skating on a rink that was a flooded field. He may have actually appreciated my finesse on that.
I had a crush on him for a while, and so rationally became angry at him for having a girlfriend. He pointed out my hostility and it ended. We were okay. The lot of us went to the North Korean restaurant to eat delicious food and read up on the latest propaganda. We adopted brother and sister cats. His was named “Cat”.
Evan and I lost touch about five years ago. He emailed an address I didn’t use anymore, I was slow to respond. We just became facebook friends again, but neither of us sent a message.
Evan died yesterday morning. I haven’t been able to stop crying for a man that I haven’t known for five years, but know should still be here. Evan being here was a comfort. A good man, how rare is that? A good man, forgiving and funny and dry. He should still be here. I keep thinking that there has to be a way to take it back. To reverse what happened yesterday morning. I’m sure his wife and kids want that. I’m sure everyone does.
Death is not inclined to give a shit about the desires of those left.
When I saw the post about it on FaceBook (life is on FB now), I immediately remembered the night Evan and I were drinking in the lobby of the hotel for the conference. He was teaching me chess and had gone away for a minute. Someone came to talk to me, and I can’t remember what about. I just remember trying to maintain and seeing Evan out of the corner of my eye, overcome with a fit of giggles. He clapped his hand over his mouth and whirled away. I choked down my laughter until the other person left. We collapsed in laughter on the couch, a small pile of puppies. Evan was in his black winter outfit. That’s what I think of when I think of Evan.