Greg Rhodes says he was a beast. He has told me and others this hundreds of times. He believed he was unstoppable, laughing in the face of fear, never worrying about the future but instead telling us what he had in store for himself. He was convinced he was going to have that sexy hot girl on his arm. He expected to have money in the future. He went to the gym, dressed as though he was a lifting God, and pushed through pain and sweat so he could one day lift incredible amounts of weight and be jacked. I should know because I was his work out partner for 6 months while living with him at Charlestown Recovery.
I can not speak of who he was as a person before I met him but I have every right to remember the friend I’ve had since he introduced himself to me during a chicken cutlet and rice pilaf dinner.
Greg had a laugh which made me smile. He talked in a way no one else did, most times mumbling words and having to repeat them to me. He walk with a slight slunch until he raised his head and his chest puffed out. He stood silent and talked when spoken to or when he felt he needed to say something, never out bursting or interrupting me. He even stood in front of our entire house at my graduation and spoke kind words while presenting me with my medallion. Greg knew exactly when I was hurt or confused, especially pertaining to my girlfriend and I, and he sat listening and talking to me for hours about what he knew was my crazy non sense, but he did it anyway, never complaining or getting aggrivated. I’ve been forever grateful for that.
He loved his mother and Big Papa Roads (which he always said with that grin) and missed his brother. He retold stories of growing up down by the Cape as if they were being read out of a history book. He called me every weekend he went home to visit, telling me he needed to move back there, out of worry for his dad’s health. His heart, I knew, was with his family.
I will never see Greg again. I will never see that smiling guy, slowly telling me how he will one day have the perfect life and be happy, his words escaping a mouth surrounded by his goatee. I will never feel the warmth of his heart as I tell him about my mother. We will never laugh together because of how I over reacted about something. But what I’ll miss most about Greg not being here anymore is his name coming across my cell phone and when I read his text it says, “Man, I miss you.” Well, Greg, I miss you. I love you. And I’ll see you again one day. Send my love to my Ma. I always agreed with you, didn’t I, with your self proclaimed title. Go get ’em, Greg. You’re a Beast.