It’s a work day. My friends are all adults. I felt nauseous this morning and stayed home. While at Highland Coffees, I get call from my father. My cousin John is missing. He apparently made peace with family members last week. He called his sister a couple times last night and left an apology voice mail. The police found his car (with wallet/cell phone) abandoned on the 471 bridge over the Ohio River. His father drowned in that same spot in an accident a little more than 20 years ago. John ominously told his mother (my aunt) that history repeats itself.
I don’t know what to think. I don’t know who to call. I talked to my siblings and John’s sister. I’m supposed to be an adult. Shit like this happens in your life. Tragic shit all the time. I remember the 40 odd days that we waited for John’s dad’s body to show up. I remember it taking several hours to find my friend Adam’s body.
John and I were close as kids but meandered apart through the years. I went back for his bachelor party and wedding. I questioned his direction. I pushed him to do better. I believed and still believe in his ability. His father’s death haunted him his whole life. He joined the Coast Guard just to be in some branch of military like his father, but specifically the branch that deals with saving people on water.
The worst part for me is that John saved me from drowning as a child. We were at St. Andrews Park in Panama City Beach, FL. One of our uncles was on shore and had no idea. I swam underwater well with goggles on, but I still couldn’t really swim at the surface. We got to a part where I was over my head. I was choking for air at the bottom. John who was barely taller than me swam to the bottom and lifted me up out of the water so I could take a breath. My fear of drowning comes from that day.
I wish more than anything that I still have a chance to lift him up out of the water, so that he gets another chance.
Edit: I just got a call from my dad that they found John’s body. He leaves behind a wife and 2 young sons.