I don’t know if you’ll see this, but I need you and the world to know. You were loved. You were loved, and I was afraid. I didn’t say anything because you had someone, and you loved her, and I saw that you loved her, and I wanted you to love. Anyone, anything, I didn’t care, as long as you were alive to love, that’s all that mattered, and now you’re gone…and you’re not the only one.

Too many times in this game we’ve lost friends, drugs, alcohol, gangs, guns, car accidents, we’ve lost people and we’ve never told them how we felt because we were afraid. So much happened, and so much weirdness in how we met, and in who you were forced to become for your son, who you chose to become…I had the chance, but I was too afraid.

So here it is. Every time I’ve loved someone and didn’t say so.

The boy in 9th grade told me he was gay. I love you, I have always loved you and I think about you almost every day, and I wonder if you’re safe, alive, and happy. I love you. Thank you for being there, and for trying to believe in me. I’m sorry I wasn’t the kind of friend you needed me to be.

The invisible ones who think their lives don’t matter, the ones who think they are too weird to be loved, too strange to be held, or cared for or protected I love you.

To Surrey Crew, The Wolf Pack, The Red Scorpions, and anyone who considers themselves too broken to be a part of a society that says you don’t deserve to be. Beneath the gangs, the guns, the drugs, the girls, and the bullets, I see you, and I hear you and I’m sorry you’re trapped like i was…there’s a way out, and you should take it. You’ve earned your place here with the rest of us. Not because you’re big and tough, but because it’s time.

No more.

It ends. It has to, we have to remember there are children in the world looking up to us, expecting us to lead the way, expecting us to show them how to be free of the trauma of what we grew up with, so it has to be done.

To the woman who loved my friend…he loved you too.

Devon J Hall

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