This past weekend, a dear old friend from high school, Zach Arnold, passed away. He had spent the past couple of weeks on life support after an unknown medical condition sent him into cardiac arrest. My heart breaks for his family, for the hard decisions, the sleepless nights, the hope wrapped up in grief. I wanted Zach to be ok. I wanted him to wake up and recover and get back on the improv stage. I wanted to see him grow out his mop of "crazy hair" and hear him laugh. I have this list....it's of people I want to see since moving back to Virginia. I've been tackling it slowly, several people a month, coordinating schedules and meals and coffee dates.... I had planned to reconnect with Zach this summer, to go watch him in action at Comedy Sportz.
Zach was an amazing man. Kind, humble, giving, way talented. He drove three hours when we were in college to take me to my winter formal when my date couldn't go. I drove down to a concert at his school once, and when he didn't show, asked some fellow students to draw a map to his house and I tracked him down. It was late. He was in his pjs.
The past couple of weeks have caused me to reflect back on high school....more than a decade now since we graduated....really?!?!?!? The ragtag bunch of kids that made up the drama program....a mismatch of religions, backgrounds, dreams....who all found a place to belong at the graffitied room at the end of the hall. We spent hours together memorizing scripts, singing songs, constructing sets and costumes. It was in their midst that I learned to take on characters, explore new emotions, and even experience kissing a boy on stage... :o) The rehearsals, the lack of sleep, the travel for competitions.... we did it all together.
And so this past weekend hit a little close to home. I have celebrated the success of my fellow lee lancers who have landed amazing jobs, or that part in a movie/commercial, or found their way to a culinary school in Canada. The marriages, the babies, the moves.... it has been such a joy to see where these precious friends have found themselves.
I am proud of who Zach became. He continued to pursue his love of acting and made a huge impact in the improv/theater community of Richmond, VA. It has been an affirming testament to his life to see the posts and pictures shared by his friends and loved ones. The odds are, you my dear reader, did not have the privilege of knowing Zach. Picture someone you would instantly like, felt like you had known forever, and who would have made you laugh in the very first conversation.
There are many videos and pictures that have been circulating, but I adore this commercial Zach was in for the VA Lottery a couple of summers ago. He is the guy who pushes the shopping cart out of the way. So classic.