For Carlos M Icaza, 1966-2016

My attempt to convey the love, gratitude and admiration I have for you through an open letter after you were taken far, far too soon. 

I know others are writing about your career, but right now, your 50th birthday, when I should be preparing your gift-pile and getting ready to see you, I’m still too overwhelmed to try and cover that part of your life; you achieved so much. This is my way of trying to honor what you meant to me personally, a video, a shorter written letter, and a few pictures from over the years.

Carlos/Lucifer/Furby/Potateho –

I can’t possibly say everything I want in an open letter style video- the words to say half of what you mean to me don’t exist.

I treasure every moment we shared, every memory- from the time you sang “I Think I Want to Marry You” as we hid in a corner of The W (I outright refuse to go there without you since then), the way you could understand me even when I was really sick and talking gibberish, the way you’d pull the covers over me when we spent an evening together and you knew I was falling asleep listening to you- telling you that when your cousin asked me what I’d wish for if I had a genie, my #1 wish was that if you and I didn’t end up together you could be with someone who loved you half as much as I did…

I wanted you to always feel loved and relieve your stress- I know you had a lot of it. Friends have laughed when I tell them how I left you a note so you wouldn’t worry when I wasn’t there when you woke up that morning I had internal bleeding- and I was so worried about making sure I didn’t stress you out that you thought I wasn’t being serious until late that night when I messaged you that I was alright but dopey from the blood loss and still wanted to hear all about your day… That one still makes me smile because it makes me feel I really did a good job minimizing your stress.

I am glad I told you as often as I could how grateful I was for you- especially the things I knew were a pain but you did anyway- like the fact you hated ups so much but would still send me tshirts to sleep with after you moved. I don’t think I have spent a night without one in… I don’t know how many years.

Now as I try and prepare to return to “normal” life, a life built entirely around you and our future, I think about the mountain of gifts for your birthday- you had SO many- I wanted to be insane about your 50th. I wish you’d seen them- I know you were like a kid with that stuff. I wish we had been able to go away like we planned- you could have cooked for me and we could have hidden away from the world and just enjoy the privacy before becoming “public” – I know you worried more than me about what people could think about it but I think we would have been happy… It is profoundly unfair that at a time we should have been laying in the sun, me napping contently and you playing with various gifts, that I am instead writing about your life, missing you and wondering how I have survived 3 weeks without you waking me up, telling me bedtime stories, patting me and singing the truly terrible “Love is Like a Rainbow” in the voice of an effeminate British elf. (One of my favorite of your voices, of course.)

It took many years for you to realize I knew the real you, and loved all of it- but I believe at least the last 18 months when things were so tough you finally understood it was unconditional, and that no matter what I would always be there for you- my last trip I did see that in you- the comfort you found in it. I’m grateful, and proud, that you trusted me enough to let me give that to you, and to depend on me- I know you never wanted to need anyone and I could not be more honored that you eventually found that in me.

I am going to put a few pictures below of us, and of a few notes I’ve given you over the years- I honestly thought you’d throw them away; I was always more sentimental about those things with you, and learning you’ve kept several was amazing, but I’m still glad I have the photos – I know you’d tease me but I do find comfort in them, as they help me remember that even in your darkest times you always knew you were loved.

There is no easy way to end this letter, just like the video- I cannot say goodbye to you- so I will stick to the usual and hope you know it remains as true as it ever was; and that here or not, my love for you will never lessen, I will carry you with me, and in this life and whatever comes next, I will always belong to you – you will always be my home.

All my love, always,

Your minion/peach/slug/marsupial xoxo

Back at Lanica; me laughing because you’d just told me off for looking too apathetic.

You knew I had this and teased me, but every day as I walked into the lot at work, seeing the back of your car by the door, I was filled with happiness. Silly or not, I never want to forget that feeling.

Scrawled on hotel paper and included with your usual “gift bag” at the end of one of my visits. Maybe my favorite visit- it was the time we almost bought a ferret lol <3

You looking happy and cute after a long explanation about meshes, which involved a lot of drawing on the (thankfully paper) table cloth

When I got sick and knew you were scared, and I put together a book with all the information you could possibly need if anything were to happen. I almost tore that page out, it felt very “mushy” as you’d say, but I’m glad I didn’t, and I’m glad I was so sentimental with you that I have things like this to look at now. They reassure me that you knew how much I loved you even when I struggled to find the words sometimes.

My last trip, you taking one more photo of us together, despite the sun being horrifically bright. That was a good day.

Outside El Novillo; as often as we went there I remember this night especially well as it was the time you gave me an edge piece of your fried cheese, even though it’s your favorite part.

I drew this for you in April after we talked about how being “homesick” had a lot more to do with being apart than it did a particular place in the world. It was how I saw home, you patting your “minion” as I nap contently.

There were so few times in our unconventional relationship that we seemed like a “normal” couple; I know to anyone else this would be so mundane but to me it’s special because it was one of those rare times we could ignore everything else and feel boring; and I cherished our “boring” times. I love what we were and what we had but sometimes it was nice to just cuddle up on the couch with pizza and movie. <3

Right before you took this you made a joke you knew I would smirk at, making you look cute and me look weird… but that made me laugh, and you look good, and happy, so I still love the photo.

I have a few pictures of us taken during desserts, but this is my favorite- not because it looks the best, it doesn’t, but because in years of sharing dessert it was one of the rare times you didn’t hog the sauce/topping/cream/etc… I never minded, it just stood out in my memory as a result.

You drew this back when you were taking photos each time I took naps at the office for your collage. It’s funny, very you, but I love that whenever you came over you’d smile seeing it on my fridge and that since we had to move, it has been in my office and framed. I think it’s awesome.

From when you sent me a video of you jingling your keys to let me know we were going out, because you knew I missed that from our days in the office together. That is reason enough to love it, but seeing the keyboard and superman I got for you in the background made it extra sweet. I still think of you when I hear keys, and remember home, shopping trips, that little bakery and that UPS store with the clerk who had those insane nails you hated.

I still remember you taking this one during my first trip to Miami after we had to move; it was on a couch right outside the Apple Store in Dadeland Mall; you picked out a pair of sunglasses for me I still wear today, and then we went and got you that Star Wars drone toy I knew you wanted.

I love this so much; it’s a screen grab from that shaky video at the Lanica/Appcelerator offices. We never answered when asked why we sat opposite each other even when there was space side by side, but I’d always quietly smile to myself when it came up. I LOVE the fact we both wanted that constant contact, however simple, and the fact we managed to maintain it regardless of who was around for the entirety of our time there. It made coming in as early as 8am totally worth it. <3

I know you wanted me to get this somewhere else, but I believe you would approve regardless; I still remember being scared to show you my wrist tattoo for you, “Make him Proud” with the horns – but I know you loved it, and I think if anything comes next you’d smile at this one too, because you know that while I have a lot to be proud of, I’ve never been more proud of anything than us and what we managed to build, share and enjoy together, against such ridiculous odds, over so many years.

From my first trip to America, the first photo ever taken of us together. Not a single day has, or will, pass, since then that I am not grateful for every moment we spent together.

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