Friday, July 3, 2015

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve.

I'm going to type this here, only because I don't think I could ever say it anywhere else. 

After a three and a half year battle with cancer, my cousin Tony passed away late Tuesday night. He was one of my closest family members, the Best Man in my wedding, and without the slightest hint of hyperbole, one of the nicest people you could ever meet. If you needed something, I'm telling you, he would do whatever he could to get it done. 
Tony and I at Fenway, June 23rd, 2006. This is the look of someone who has just listened to me for 3 hrs.
One time, I was on the phone with an old high school friend, Justin (he would go on to write and direct short films), and this dude is just grilling me about how We need to do something. We need to write a screenplay. Make a short film! Something. And I'm just kind of yeah-yeahing him, you know? I realize someone else is beeping in, and I tell Justin, Calm down. I got another call. It's Tony, and I ask him to hold on as I wrap up with Justin. Tony says Sure, no problem. 

I click back over, and I just lay into Justin. Look, I've got this idea for a children's book, okay? I'll f--king write the damn thing - and you illustrate it. Okay? Can you do that? Stop hounding me, already. Draw the BOOK! And he says, matter-of-factly, Okay. I'll do it.

But, being the moron that I am, I never actually clicked back to Justin. My cousin Tony was still on the line, and even though he had no interest in drawing (or having the slightest idea what I was talking about) still felt like he could do it. That he would do it. I'm a pretty good guy, but there isn't a doubt in my mind, he was twice the man I was. Easily.

As kids, we were best friends two months a year. Luckily, I would move within a couple blocks of Tony when we were in our twenties, and instead of just being friends over the summer (for no real reason, we just never thought to keep in touch), we were inseparable. And when weren't going to Fenway (13 games in 2004 alone), we were at the movies. All the time. There was a years-long stretch where we simply saw everything that was released. Everything. 

These our some of highlights and/or low-lights. And sadly/heroically...most were opening night.
The funny thing is, I'm not even sure if he really even liked going to the movies (he rarely went when I moved away). But regardless, he never, ever said no. I love bad movies, and I waste a lot of money and time on bad movies, and he would never flinch when I asked if he wanted to see something potentially awful. I would try to actively sell him on whatever stupid movie was coming out and he would just nod along. He was going to go regardless, but he'd always let me ramble on. Obviously, when it's something I love, something that's a part of me? There's a lot to say about it.

I owe so much to him (and his family), I could live to be a hundred and not have enough time to repay them for all they have done for me. I regret that I never told him how much he meant to me, I just hope that he knew. 

Tony Norton was a teacher, a coach, a brother, an uncle, a son and my best friend. Maybe even a movie fan, too.

I will miss him very much.

20 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about you losing such a person, but very happy that you got to know one at all.

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    1. Thanks, Dell. I thought a lot about what you said here, and it really helped. In the short term I was beyond crushed (still am), but when I look at it like this guy was a part of my life for over three decades...it makes it easier, you know?

      Good words, man. I mean it.

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  2. I don't even know what to say. I'm sorry. I clicked on this link trying to figure out which movie you were reviewing with that title and then I read the first paragraph and I almost cried. Your cousin sounds like an incredible person, and you're blessed to have had him in your life, so cherish that, as I know you will. You're a good man, Mario. I'm sure he felt the same way.

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    1. Thanks, man. I really, really appreciate it. He was a very good guy and it hurts that his life was cut short. I couldn't continue this blog (/journal?) without mentioning him. It's very kind of you (and everyone here) to not only read it, but to comment, too. As I've said before...our little community? It's the best/

      Thanks again, bro.

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  3. I am so sorry, Mario. I wish I knew what to say. Tony was lucky to have you in his life (and vice versa).

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    1. Thank you.

      I don't have a lot of experience in this type of situation (but still too much) and I still don't know what to say.

      I appreciate your comment regardless. You're a very kind person.

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  4. I'm so sorry to read about your loss. I'm CERTAIN your cousin knew how much he meant to you.

    Sending lots of hugs your way!

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    1. Ha! Thanks, Sati. I was going to send you a 'rowr' in regard to your 'hugs' comment...which would have been woefully inappropriate at the time and stupid, but I'm pretty sure you know what kind of idiot/asshole I am.

      Bottom line? Thank you very much for your comment and concern. I've said it before: You're the best.

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  5. So sorry to hear this. He sounds like an incredible person who will be dearly missed. Condolences to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you so much. I couldn't even begin to tell you how much these words meant to me over the last couple of days.

      Incredible stuff, over here.

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  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure your cousin knew how much you appreciated and loved him.

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    1. Thanks, Brittani. He was a really good dude. I'm sure all of you here would have loved him!

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  7. I'm so sorry. Thank you for sharing him with us.

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    1. I loved this.

      I felt stupid putting a serious family matter on my stupid blog, but responses like this made me not regret it. I've always tried to combine my life to the movies I watch in an honest (though mainly pointless) way. It would have been wrong not to say something about my cousin.

      Thanks again!

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  8. So sorry to read about your loss. That's so tough. He sounds like the kind of person that would know how much he meant to you, and how much you meant to him.

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    1. I hope so, Jess. I really do.

      Thank you very much for the words. They mean a lot.

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  9. My condolences for your loss. I'm sure he knew how much he meant to you.

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    1. Thanks, Mike. It's insanely nice of you to stop by and say something here. I totally appreciate it.

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  10. Oh Mario, I'm so very sorry for your loss. What a devastating blow. Really man, I'm truly sorry. Tony sounds a lot like a friend I once lost - good natured, easy going, would see any movie anytime. It seems that Tony was one of the good men. Know what I mean? Someone who is just inherently good. There is really no finer way to be remembered, and your moving and eloquent tribute speaks to that.

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    1. Thanks again, AW. I know it sounds cliche and everything, but this guy, even from the background, made everything better. Hardworking and easygoing, you'd be hard to find a nicer person.

      It breaks my heart that he's gone...but even just talking about him a little bit (on this silly blog) kinda brings him back, you know?

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