This one hurts.
I don’t even know where to begin.
You were just always there. At M’s Pub, art openings, receptions, a sidewalk in Benson, or at a coffee shop.
Every time we crossed paths, your eyes lit up, you had a smile, a handshake, a hug, an embrace, and it was genuine. It was real. You would ask how I was, and what I was doing, and you wanted an authentic answer. It wasn’t just a ritual of social norms, you cared, you were my friend. And when I asked you how you were, you wouldn’t talk over my head, you would explain your role in business and finance in a way that was down-to-earth, and easy to understand. You had a way of humanizing things that were abstract to me, and easily helped me see how it was meaningful, yet frustrating at times for you.
Laura and you were at every Omaha art opening I ever had. You followed and celebrated my achievements, and reminded me of my accomplishments when I was worried and down. Both of you even ran my swag table, selling T-shirts, prints, and stickers for me when I was in-between gigs, and wondering how I’d pay next month’s rent.
I’d wake up to your texts of the latest street art you had found, asking me if I recognized it, or what I knew about it. Or texts reminding me to wish Laura a Happy Fucking Birthday, or sending me the exact minute and second that a painting of mine showed up in the background of some superficial, reality TV show along with a link to see it for myself because I didn’t have a TV or Internet of my own at the time.
Or find packages in my mailbox, of newspapers from your hometown, with articles about the work I was doing there.
… but I’m selfishly talking about me, and my own bullshit. Laura and you were so much to so many. You supported all of us in your own way, in so many ways. You were and are the best of us.
Farewell my friend. I’m sorry I never said I love you, but I do.
Laura and you have helped make Omaha the great culture center for visual arts and more that it is.
I don’t know how to say goodbye to you because everything you have done for us lives on in so many ways …
This one hurts.
Reprinted from Facebook with permission from the author.
Bart Vargas is a Visual Artist, Educator, and Advocate based in Omaha, Nebraska.