Remember your 25th birthday? You were desperate for a tattoo. You didn’t have a design in mind but needed ink ASAP. After settling for a scummy studio in Harewood, you chose two words to grace your bicep: “Made It.” A vape-smoking artist needled your decision permanent. I said it was a nice tattoo even though it was a stupid tattoo. I can’t remember what we did afterward. Probably devoured McDoubles, skated the parking lot beside my sober home. And after that, you landed in prison. Then Colony Farm. Then you overdosed on fentanyl. You are dead, Alan. You are bodiless. You are posing for my camera at Bonnell Creek, throwing up peace signs in ladybug garden gloves. You are wearing a broken skateboard as a hat, nudging me to call Value Village and get honest about my job interview lie. You are sharing your 24th birthday with the 5th birthday of Kirsten’s daughter, letting her and the other kindergarteners climb your body in the hot tub. You are both blowing out candles on a Disney princess cake. Alan, you made it.
“Dear Alan” was originally published in subTerrain.