Way way back in the mists of time, I attended SUNY Oswego for four years (I didn't actually graduate until 2010, but that story is told elsewhere). In my last two years I lived in a residence hall called Pathfinder. It was a 24-hour quiet, 24-hour locked (this was not the norm in the early 1990s, at least at Oswego), 24-person 16-room dorm. It was mostly for non-trads, graduate students, and in my second year there, foreign exchange professors. I got in due to harassment for having the audacity to be the outspoken secretary of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA).
Given how small the dorm was, everyone got to know one another fairly well, and that was how I met Greg, a graduate student. In the course of the year we discovered we were from the same town, and that in fact he lived down the street to the woman who would become my aunt, though they probably only knew each other in passing, if at all.
At any rate, it was quite a year. Greg and our dormmate Steffikins (his affectionate nickname for her) became fast friends. In fact, Greg and Steffikins are responsible for the nickname-which-became-the-name-I-go-by-n
Greg was an excellent roleplayer and gamemaster, and I had the good fortune both to play in some campaigns with him and to play in two Shadowrun campaigns which he ran. He also introduced me to the movies _Bladerunner_ and _Cast a Deadly Spell_, among others -- over one school break, instead of going home, Greg, Steffikins, and I stayed in the dorm and spent pretty much the whole time watching really awful movies.
Greg graduated that year and we kept in touch. Some bad things transpired that year, which caused my flaming crash and burn departure from college at the end of my fourth year. The bad things were more than made up for by the fact that I met callicrates online and we began dating.
One of my cherished conglomerate of memories of Greg involved that summer. We developed a habit of playing mini-golf in the evenings, followed by a Dunkin' Donuts run, followed by driving to the top (outdoor) tier of one of the local parking garages and talking until all hours. We would sometimes change the scenery by hanging out in the city's plaza. I'll never forget the night we were doing so and heard some strange noises, which turned out to be the clattering hooves of a very lost deer.
If I recall correctly, Greg had gone to high school with a woman named Janine, and during that summer they re-met. Janine would sometimes join us for mini-golf and donuts, and we also hung out at her place and played Trivial Pursuit once or twice. One time when they went to a mall in Syracuse they invited me along, and I got a set of Classical CDs for Andy. That was the trip they introduced me to a filk artist whose name I cannot keep in my memory for some reason. I'm tempted to say Heather Alexander, but I've never been able to find the two songs they played for me on any of her collections, unless she named them very deceivingly.
Then I got my job in NJ, moved out there, and lost touch with Greg and Janine. By then Andy and I were in a serious long-distance relationship, and between working graveyard shift six nights a week and visiting each other whenever possible, I didn't get to Rome very much. Andy graduated from undergrad and got accepted to UNC, and we ended up moving to NC and getting married.
I began visiting upstate NY more often and, in one of those visits, found Greg's old phone number. It was actually his parents' number, but they still lived there. I'm not quite sure what his mother made of the phone call when I tried to reach him, but she did relay my information (I did not ask her to give me Greg's) and told me that Greg and Janine had married. We met up again and they finally got to meet Andy. Although I don't think we ever did get in a mini-golf run as a foursome, we did hang out whenever Andy and I ended up in the area.
After Andy and I moved to NM we stopped visiting upstate NY as frequently, so our visits with Greg and Janine tapered off. My last memory of Greg was when Andy and I visited together a year or two ago. We gathered for ice cream on a blustery cold day, and eventually gave up talking there and descended upon our favorite Dunkin' Donuts, where we talked for hours. Greg and Janine avoided Facebook for a long time, but finally gave up the good fight and joined. We've been chatting and sharing stuff back and forth since then.
On Sunday (May 13, 2012) Janine posted that Greg had had a major heart attack on Saturday (May 12 2012) and had a very bad prognosis. Things seemed to be getting better, but this morning I discovered that he had died sometime yesterday. Andy and I are scrambling to find a way to get me there for whatever memorial services they have for him.
I always thought Greg would be the type who, approached by the representation of Death, would flip said representation off and live another hundred years just to spite the representation of Death. That or maybe challenge the representation to a game of Trivial Pursuit which Greg would win handily, once again living to a fine old age. I'm still in the shock stage, hoping fervently that Janine will post that someone jumped the gun in posting the notice to Greg's page, and that even now he's reading all the testimonials and smirking.