Eleven years ago, I was back in Jefferson City, for the first time since graduation. So much had changed. So much was still familiar. I sat across a table in the cafeteria from my dear friend, as I had done many times in undergrad. We laughed like we always did. He marveled at my kid. (I only had one at that time.) We reminisced about old times. He told me about all the new things going on. I fussed at him for coming to Kansas City and not calling me. He told me to come back to Jefferson City more often. We hugged and agreed to do better.
Today, as I type this, they are funeralizing my friend. And while I never made it back to Jefferson City, we did keep in touch. Sometimes I called the radio station while he was working. Sometimes we emailed back and forth. He’d call to ask me what to get his girlfriend for Christmas. I’d call to tell him when I had yet another kid. (There are only three, but every time I made my announcement, he would be flabbergasted.)
Lavaughn was the kind of friend every girl needs when she gets to college. He was protective like a big brother, but without the familial obligation. He questioned my decisions, not because he was judging me(though i’m sure he secretly was), but because he really wanted me to be able to justify my stances. He told me what the other guys were saying about me when I wasn’t in the room. He’d help me study, and share his stash. I don’t know if I would have survived Lincoln University without him. I might have starved without all those free chicken wings from the Blue Room.
I will miss our off the wall conversations. I will always remember him as the “chaperone” on our Black College Radio Trip, and his harsh critiques of my radio performances.
I could not make it to Jefferson City today, but my heart is certainly there.
In memory of LaVaughn A. Wilson, Jr. z