It started with a phone call. I had known Allan Trotman for years before the call, but I think we truly created our bond after this phone call. At around 12 or 13 years old I dialed my mom at work.
“Mom is it cool if Allen, and I play with dad’s fireworks?”, I asked quietly.
“Absolutely not!”, She Responded.
Laughing out loud I replied,“okay we’ll put them away!”
We had been playing with fireworks at the McCabe house across the river earlier that day. I was always scared of getting in trouble, so I really didn’t handle any of the fireworks myself. Brendan and Allan managed to light off some firecrackers close enough to one of the neighbor kids that he was convinced he was going deaf. It was at that point we migrated to my house and started lighting off dad’s fireworks.
We hung out all the time after this. There is something special about finding people you can be weird with. The people you are comfortable being weird around are the ones you find you want to keep around. I have been lucky to meet 6 to 9 people who I can get weird around. Allan was the first of that group.
“Hey kyle, do you like Avenged Sevenfold?” he asked at one point.
“Not at all.”I responded.
Exposing his pectoral muscle he states, “I got their logo tattooed!”
“Holy shit, do you even listen to them?” I asked loudly.
“No, but it’s a cool logo.” he laughed.
This was the sort of shit I could come to expect of my best friend. We would make dumb videos on Youtube to make our friends laugh. One time we did one where Allan was featured holding a bong for a few seconds. It was maybe 5 seconds of a 8 minutes long video but it got the neighborhood going. Eventually we got in trouble and got asked to take it down. Another time my good buddy Pat drew the Michelin man with a Sharpie on his back. We were just always doing stupid shit.
Growing up in a small town we had to do stupid shit to keep entertained. Allan and I were quite good at finding stupid things to do. We drove around a lot. We talked about life a lot. I really believe we understood life on a deep level early on in our midwestern existence. I remember driving to town to buy him cigarettes and chew. I turned 18 quite a while before him and never had an issue picking up his stuff. We’d be driving all over just to be out of the house. He would always ask me, “do you mind if I smoke in your car?”
I never said no. I was always really impressed by his persistent politeness.
“Of course you can smoke in my car, just crack the window” was my standard response.
“Would you like one?” He asked immediately after.
I always answered “No thank you. I don’t smoke.”
Some years later I found myself back at home in Blooming Prairie. Allan texted me at the perfect time. I was up for anything. I found myself at an outdoor party with many strangers. It was like no time at all had passed. Our friendship picked up right where we left it. We talked about life. 6 years had really passed since we had spent quality time together. Our lust for life was obvious. We had seen the world through older eyes and discovered aspects of ourselves we didn’t know existed in the earlier years. We found pain, love, and all the things that go along with the emotions of passing time.
Somehow in the last deep conversation I had with him before I left that night we found ourselves staring at the stars in an open southern Minnesota sky.
He asked me, “do you mind if I smoke?”
“We are outside go ahead.” I said laughingly.
“Would you like one?”
I paused for a while, “You know what? Yes I would.” I said happily.
We continued to talk about life. Just like I said that night. I got your back Allan. We will always be best friends no matter how little we talk or see each other. I said yes to the cigarette not because I wanted one, but because life is short and you don’t ever know how long you have left to say yes to your best friend. I wish you and your family well. I am a day late. However, I must say Happy Birthday and I love you.
Please remember small moments make big impressions.