I suppose there’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to blurt it out without a real introduction.
My dear friend Aramis Valverde, who went by the name “Mad Genius” online, died on Thursday, 4 December. I thought he was just in hiding, taking a little disappearance break, because the last time he wrote for his site was in June. He’d told me he was considering giving up his site, so I figured that was what he did. Still, I figured he would be back. And better than ever. He didn’t want to be bothered, I thought, so that’s why he hadn’t responded to my emails and that’s why I didn’t see him on the instant messaging service we chatted on all the time.
I didn’t want to think the worst. I didn’t want to think that his health had deteriorated. Sure, other people got sick and died, but that was … other people. Aramis was not “other people”. He would beat it, he would outlive it, and we would celebrate the defeat. When we finally met.
Because, you see, we never met in “real life”. We were fast friends online, from the very moment we found each other. There were some days when we spent all day slaying each other via instant messages or volleying email. Others when we talked on the phone. We planned to visit each other. I would come to Boston and we’d gorge ourselves to bursting at New Mother India. He would come to Manhattan and we’d stuff ourselves with Teuscher champagne truffes. We’d shop for pants to show off our fabulous assets. We’d gab like girls.
One day, we said, we would live together, like a much wittier Will & Grace. We would collaborate on a writing project. We would have an early morning radio show, revelling in our Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn ricochet, rat-a-tat repartee. We would get a Vespa and, dressed to the nines, tens, elevens, and beyond, zip through the city like our idols, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, did in Roman Holiday. Some day.
“Some day” never came. Thursday, 4 December 2003 came, though, and took my friend, the brilliant Aramis, with it. I had no idea that he had died when I posted last night’s entry, but somehow I think he guided me that way.
There is so much more I could write about this amazing person. There is so much I could say. But I won’t. Not now. It’s hard to type through tears. And if that’s sappy, so be it.
Te adoro, Aramis.