Richard Hatch and I were good friends—and his death this year was difficult to bear. Over three months later, I almost let this one slip, but I decided I’d say something anyway.
Richard could never remember my birthday.
The irony of it, of course, is that we shared similar star signs—we are both Gemini on the cusp of Taurus. His birthday was May 21st and mine is May 23rd. When Richard and I started hanging out in 2004, whenever we would get together we would invariably have some in-depth dinner conversation which would reveal the inner workings and passions of our minds and souls. During these revelatory dinners, Richard would always stop, blink, and ask me, “What is your sign?” to which I would remind him that it was the same as his and that our birthdays were only two days apart. Just like I had told him two weeks before when we had gone to dinner and the month before that and so on and so on.
Each time his response would be, “Really!?!” He would then sit back in his chair with a satisfied smile and nod, excited once again to realize why he and I were such close friends.
All this suddenly changed last year, when despite the fact that I had forgotten to call him for once, Richard called me on my birthday (although I have a sneaking suspicion that his remembrance of my birth date was the work of Mina Frannea). I was having a rough year and he knew it and wanted to reach out. Richard always wanted the best for me and the other’s around him that he loved. He hated watching us stumble through the same mistakes he had made in life and had already learned the lessons from. I’ll never forget that he could (mostly) never remember when I was born and that he couldn’t tell the difference between a rubber chicken and a rubber duck.
Richard’s birthday was yesterday and mine is tomorrow.
Happy Birthday, my friend. It’s not easy being without your wit. I miss you.
Andrew. E. C. Gaska