Monday, May 10, 2010

Kyle Michael Goodman

Growing up I hated Kyle! He picked on me, and he was a bully. At our family's Easter Egg Hunts he and his brother frequently tore the heads and limbs from stuffed animals the "Easter Bunny" handed out to the kids. Most Easters ended with me in my bedroom sewing those toys back together to stop the younger cousins from crying. I remember all the other cousins my age just loved Kyle and talked about him all the time. I always thought they were ridiculous for liking such a jerk so much, I didn't have any clue what they saw in him. I was always kept somewhat sheltered from my extended family by my parents so it took me until I was older to finally understand. Kyle had this bigger than life persona, like he was the baddest of the bad and a giant asshole but that was to hide that on the inside he and I were very much alike. We were both shy, insecure, cared too much and loved animals, he just learned to rely on this tough outer shell to protect himself. I never developed that, and am still pretty transparent.

When I would later ask why he was such a jerk to me growing up he told me it was to toughen me up, so when others picked on me I would be ready for it. I would learn that was Kyle, looking after you and teaching you lessons in the most backwards way possible. As I got older I grew to appreciate the very kind and loving heart that lie behind all the caustic remarks and fratboy antics. He was always the first person at any family gathering to walk on over and throw an arm around me and make me feel welcome. Normally it was paired with a remark like, "Bridget, what the hell took you so long?" or "What the fuck have you been up to?" and he never failed to make me feel like I belonged and that he liked being around me. Since I was a pretty strange kind and had been kept pretty sheltered from the other cousins I have always felt a bit on the outside, but not around Kyle. He told me he thought I was fun, bad ass, and interesting. He had a knack for boosting my confidence when it was wavering around my much cooler, more confident cousins. But he also demanded you stand up for yourself, and take care of yourself, and if you didn't he was going to have something to say about that. He was never good at taking his own advice.

We liked the same music and talked about that a lot. Though I had a bit wider range and he enjoyed making fun of me about quite a few of my choices, of course his favorites weren't always stellar either! I always wanted to get him in the pit with me just once because I think he would have been proud how well I could hold my own. We were always going to similar shows but somehow never ran into each other. He had been promising to come and see Coy's band play but hadn't made it out. I guess now he never will. This still hasn't hit me.

Kyle cared too much about those around him and not enough about himself. He was loved by so many people and yet he really didn't have any idea how much he was cared for. I don't think he realized how much people relied on him, I relied on him and I only saw him a couple of times a year. His voice was gruff and a bit raspy, but warm and joking so that if you knew him, his feelings behind his words were transparent. He always hugged me in a big bear hug, or punched me, or both. He would tease my boyfriend terribly and tell me he wanted to make sure he was tough enough for me, and to make it in the family. It kills me that he will not be there at my wedding, my protective "older brother" to make some ridiculous and funny toast, to hit Coy...and me, and make everyone feel at ease.

I am really angry with Kyle. I am SO angry at him. I just can't accept that he just left us all. I can't accept that I will never see him again, that I won't ever be bullied by him, or hugged, or mosh, or share pet stories, or hear his pearls of odd wisdom, or be protected, or welcomed, ever again. I can't believe he let that happen. I want to hit him, and yell at him that he really is a jerk for breaking all of our hearts and leaving us. I want to hear his stupid "lesson" for why this is ok. And then I want to hit him again, maybe kick him too. I want him to show up and have this all be one giant dumb ass joke, to have him walk up behind me and throw his arm over my shoulders and let his guard down and say something kind and vulnerable, then something dickish and walk away. But that won't happen, and that asshole is irreplaceable and thanks to him I will always have a little broken bit in my heart, and a soft spot for assholes with hearts of gold.

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