He was my friend's brother and four years older than us. Their family had moved from Vietnam to the US when he was around five and so the problem of being in a different country with a different language and being plopped into a kindergarten class probably took a toll on his self-esteem for a good part of his short, short life. He was always a loner, but by no means anti-social. When I knew him, he didn't have friends...he hung out with whoever his brothers were hanging out with which much of the time included me.

It wasn't that I hated the guy...he was just annoying. I could easily deal with most of it. I felt sorry for him and understood what it was like not having friends being the nerdy type myself.

It was back when Magic: The Gathering was the craze in our group of friends. If we had nothing else to do, we played M:TG. Most of the time he would join us. I didn't mind that much - it was one more person to play with. When he cheated, it pissed me off, but I could deal with it. When he would boast and brag after winning, I could handle it...I understood. When he started stealing cards, I started to lose it. It started slowely at first - someone would lose a card and the next week he would suddenly have the exact same one in his collection. Eventually it became pretty obvious when very rare cards disappeared from our decks and later reappeared in his that something was going on. After a disagreement with him one day, though, both of us lost it. He came storming into my house, my bedroom, and grabbed one of my cards from one of my boxes in my corner. He quickly left as fast as he had appeared as I sat in amazement on my bed. The amazement quickly turned into anger - I had had enough. I told him I didn't want to see him again. He was 18 and just wrapping up high school and I was just a sophomore - why should I let him steal my hard-earned cards right from under my nose? I didn't see him that much summer. I think it was more because I didn't hang around with his brother than him not hanging around with us. He then left for college and I have only seen him once or twice since.

As I write this, he is laying in a hospital bed in a coma - more dead than alive. He almost drowned although it might have been better if they hadn't saved him seconds from death. Right now his family is deciding when to pull the plug to the machines running his body.

I feel terrible...I really do. He was only 22. He was pretty smart. From what I heard, he quite a few friends in college. But I wish I could have at least left on good terms with him when he left for school, because now everyone knows I didn't like him and so they assume I don't care about him. Even my own mother said "Well I know you didn't like him" as though that excludes me from being able to mourn. It makes it hurt even more.

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