total posts: 11
updated: 17.8 hours ago
~ Vessel with Two Feet.
Culture: Near Eastern
Date: ca. 1000-800 B.C.
my girlfriend Amelia got me this blanket for Christmas… and when I opened the package it looked like a bread… I’m so happy… 🍞 🐱
I first met Owen as a kid. We shared a babysitter in San Francisco; a lovely, tough-as-nails hippie starchild who was always fussing over a gaggle of children. I was a tiny but precocious (and ferocious) kid with behavioral problems, and he was a few years older, homeschooled, a bit awkward and vulgar, but also a very brilliant guy. It was a recipe for fast friends, and pretty soon I was spending the night at his house whenever I could.
He was the one who introduced me to Starcraft. For some reason I preferred to use his mom’s computer for it, so we would go into her room in their little apartment and he would sit by me and walk me through the early missions. It’s amazing thinking about how formative that ended up being to me and my incredible love of aliens as an adult. More amazing is the fact that he acted gruff, and exasperated, and very much like any tween boy would about being forced to teach a real-time strategy game to a little girl, but he still did it and he didn’t complain. When it was too difficult for me, he gave me the cheat codes. I learned to spell tough words like “medieval” and “variance” by heart just from typing them in over and over.
I would bring over my GameCube (of course it was portable - why else would it have a handle?) and we’d set it up in his room and play Sonic Adventure 2: Battle. Owen was a serious kid sometimes - already too grown up in some ways, as we all were - but in between listening to intensely violent Eminem hits and trying to catch glimpses of Girls Gone Wild advertisements at 2 AM, he was obsessed with raising Chao, the virtual pet system inside the Sonic Adventure games. He was a man on a mission, and I was very impressed when he ended up with a Dark Chaos Chao with maxed-out stats. It was named Mixer (probably by me) because of the random assortment of animal parts it had early on, when we were trying to raise the numbers.
When I visited him, he sometimes sampled portions of my food, which contained the forbidden ambrosia of animal products in his all-vegan household. He would sneak bites of bunny-shaped macaroni and cheese and we would vehemently deny having shared it, even when it was obvious we were lying. When Owen came to my house instead - after I’d moved back in with my dad - he found another avenue to rebel against his diet, in the form of meals from the incredible Greek deli on the corner, with its rotating racks of beef ribs and rotisserie chickens. When I found him on Facebook years later, I was tickled to find that many of his photographs were reviews of steak dinners. It was just his little way of acting out against harsh rules, even though, by the time we crossed paths again, he clearly agreed with the compassionate and ethical end of veganism.
Maybe it was because he’d been raised intermittently with his half-sister, or because he was sometimes surrounded by younger kids and so he could cope with them, but Owen, despite the tough-guy image and his habit of rolling his eyes up and screaming “HAIL SATAN” to cause alarm, was nice to me. When the joking went too far and I got sensitive about it, he apologized and we’d do something else to make it up to me. When he accidentally mistreated a Chao in the video game, he was happy to reset the console and lose his progress so it was like it never happened. When I dropped out of highschool - Owen went to the same one, a few years above me, and, to my knowledge, did well - he did not join in his classmates’ speculation about where I’d gone or what, exactly, was wrong with me. When people tried to spread gossip to him about my gender or sexuality, he apparently laughed and said “Well, yeah, I’ve known that for years…” And of course he had, because I knew I could trust him with that.
Before I moved to New Zealand, I was able to meet back up with him one last time. Owen sat on the front steps of my father’s house with me that evening, smoking a joint and catching up. What really struck me was that, despite an online presence based on irony, negativity and apathy, he was still incredibly kind to me. He was genuinely excited that I was running off to another country to live with my girlfriend. We didn’t talk enough - just sat around and shared some hopes for the future - but I remember being struck by the fact that he looked really good, even really happy, in the flesh. He’d lost the baby fat that always made him anxious, he had genuine prospects, he was really discovering himself and he was excited for what might happen next, and it was contagious. I gave him a brief hug before he biked back home. I can never give him a longer one.
It’s not that I only remember the good things. I remember our disagreements, our chilly periods of silence, even a few of our physical fights. But we were kids back then. I don’t have to think about the bad bits. Owen is crystallized in my mind, not just as the rowdy child who knew all the exciting swear words, but as a young adult trying his hardest to figure himself out. He is the beaming dork with the cringey tattoo of the words “San Francisco” and the flower sticking out of his hair. It hurts that he has to stay there, frozen in time, while the rest of us continue to age. It’s an especially powerless feeling to be thousands of miles away while a friend and anchor to your younger self is laid to rest.
Please help me make it a good send-off from the other end of the world. Owen’s memorial service fund, organized by his uncle Bryan and his mother Kim, is only $100 USD off from its goal as of the time of this post. I just want to alleviate some of the incredible stress his mom and the rest of his family must be feeling right now. Click here if you would like to contribute anything.
I really appreciate the help from friends of mine who, despite never knowing Owen personally, have done what they can. Thank you.