I only saw him once and it was only for a little while. I was trying not to eavesdrop on a conversation he was having with someone else. After a few minutes I gave up the ruse of pretending not to pay attention and I listened, wide-eyed, to his tales of life in the boxing ring. When the conversation was finished he approached me and said, "I've been noticing you. You look really sweet. Would you like to go out sometime?" and I said, "Ummmm.... maybe?" and since I didn't have anything to write his phone number on I handed him a book that I carried around all the time and he wrote his name and his phone number on the front page.
Every time I opened that book (which was every time I needed a laugh, aka, every day) I saw the name and the number and went through the usual should I/shouldn't I routine. To be honest, I was pretty intimidated by the man's size. He was literally a heavyweight boxer, and it showed. 6' 5" and 250+ pounds of muscle. My Aunt Patty would always say, "Call the boxer!" and I can't count how many times I chickened out.
For years, long after the book had been left behind and the phone number (but not the name) forgotten, I kicked myself regularly for not at least striking up a friendship with the guy. Many times I looked for him online. I could always find his boxing stats, but not the person.
Fast forward to modern times.
Baited breath. I define that as the three or four seconds between the time I click on the link that says "Obituaries" until the page loads and I can reassure myself that nobody I care about has gone away.
And there it was. The name written in my treasured old book. The age was right. The nickname was right. I didn't even know the man but the knowledge of his death took my breath away. No mention of his boxing career in the obituary, no mention of the death of a local boxer in the newspapers, but it was him, and he was gone.
And again I kick myself, because I had the chance to be his friend and I blew it.
No doubt he forgot about me ten minutes after he autographed my book, but I never forgot about him, and I never will. When one contemplates their own death, can they possibly imagine how many lives they touched, or how many people will be sad about the world losing them?
Extreme regret on my part.
Rest in Peace Brian Scott.