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Curti

Maybe no one is replaceable

Most of the rest of us had acquired nicknames. He wanted one too. Everyone just called him "Curti," his last name. So he said that was his nickname.

He spoke to me about feeling that he was on the periphery. Nearly everyone else in our group had a talent or attraction or some claim to fame that made them distinct. He spoke to me about his not having one.

We didn't know he was the center of everything - till he died when he was 20 or 21 (from a hospital acquired infection). None of the rest of us spoke to each other ever again. He had been the one through whom we communicated without realizing that. He was the gravity. When he was gone, "we" no longer were.

It's 40 years later and if he were here, I'd have someone worth playing golf with, or worth going to look at a new car with. I have done those things with other people, but they really weren't worth doing those things with. I've stopped doing those things.

I have friends in other cities, as I was in other cities for a long time. The friends I had here revolved around him. The older I get, the more I understand the extent to which he never could be replaced. It is difficult to over estimate the value and rarity of a good friend.

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