Friend Files is a feature I added to my blog, Away With Words, a while back – this being the 24th installment – as well as a very special edition, which I will talk about shortly. Past installments appear under the “Friend Files” tag on my blog. I will be interviewing a friend of mine and showcasing why they are a friend to me and what I like about them, and also a mini-interview (five questions) that detail what they think of me. It’s a way to acknowledge my friends out there and what they’re up to and also to introduce them to my larger group of friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who might be interested in reading online.

Today, I will be talking about my good friend Nicole Davis – Marquis. Before I get into what I think of her, I need to tell you some things about this edition of Friend Files which set it apart from past editions.

You see – My good friend Nicole is no longer with us, at least in physical form. She passed on recently after a three-year battle with cancer, and since she was the type of person to never put herself out there with one of these things no matter how hard I pestered her – I feel like after these past few days of going to her funeral services and reflecting on the nature of our friendship means that I am ready to reflect, in words, about the type of friend Nicole is to me. So, I will now answer some questions about Nicole that are normally reserved for my interviewees. Special shout out to my friend Peyton who suggested this idea to me.

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Nicole Davis – Marquis – Dog Lover, Music Enthusiast, Trivia Queen.

NICOLE DAVIS-MARQUIS: Give me some details about your life.

ME: I am a friend of yours who misses you dearly. The creator of this blog, and the Friend Files installments.

NICOLE DAVIS-MARQUIS: How exactly did we meet?

ME: We originally met at Pizza Hut in Auburn, Maine. We worked there together for a while and you were a part of one of the closest-knit work crews I’ve ever had the joy of working with in any company or corporation. The job itself was never the greatest, but the people were what kept me there and kept me sane. You were one of those people, especially.

NICOLE DAVIS-MARQUIS: What is one good memory you have involving me?

ME: There were so many good ones. The time you invited me back in 2007 to the Davis Landscape summer party and you kept giving me Long Island Ice Teas, and then I freaked you out by almost hitting your cat with a dart when I was playing darts in your basement. Or the time I was supposed to meet you out downtown one night, and you were texting me and asking where I was since I was running so late and I had to tell you that I’d been pulled over by a police officer – for running….you thought that was so hilarious. Or, the time when, before you really knew me that well – you listened to me rant about my relationship troubles and tried to give me advice as I was crying and carrying on. Or, the times when you’d come to my apartment back when I was living with our mutual friend as a roommate and we’d watch movies or just chat. Or the time you came to my wedding and danced with me. Or the time recently when you came to one of my cosplay events, and you got to see me dressed up as Obi-Wan Kenobi for the first time in person, and you made sure to tell me how much you appreciated my Facebook posts as you introduced me to your nephew Bentley and held my lightsaber next to me for our final photo together. So many memories, pretty much all of them good. I can’t pick just one. I will cherish them always.

NICOLE DAVIS – MARQUIS: Why exactly are we still friends?

ME: Even though you’re gone, you are still my friend. I spoke with your father today at your service, and he fist-bumped me and he told me “Joe – you were a very important friend to her. ARE a very important friend to her. Just because she’s gone doesn’t mean you’re going to change the tense of the word. You ARE a friend to her, not WERE. You understand that? Because if you don’t, she’s going to let you know about it in all sorts of ways. You are a good friend.”

And you ARE a good friend to me, Nicole. Despite everything we’ve both gone through, we always managed to pick up right where we left off. In my mid-20’s, as I was married and started my own path and you picked up a relationship with your amazing husband Jeff, we stayed in touch. You kept sending me cards, even though I am terrible with mail and never sent any back. You knew I wouldn’t, yet you sent them anyway – because that’s what kind of a person you were. You always thought of others without expecting anything in return. You knew how I felt about you and so we just kind of played it by ear.

We stayed friends for all those reasons and because you were so fun, so genuine, so real, so full of life, and so strong. In your hardest moments, I felt that somehow you’d come through it and beat cancer. That you’d destroy it. But cancer is truly a force of nature, and we humans are so fragile. If anyone could have beaten it, it would have been you. But you fought hard, and fought long, and I will always admire that strength. It was the same strength that you showed me during my divorce and separation when you consoled me as my life fell apart around me. You were still there to get nachos with me at Gritty’s, with or without our mutual friend Kacie or your brother Chris or your husband Jeff. You texted, called, hung out. Everything. And I will miss those simple moments we had, and I will also regret not being able to spend more time with you.

Rest in peace, Nicole. You are loved, and you are still one of my dearest friends. I hope to see you again someday.

And now, I will leave you with some photos which convey, at least in my opinion, what a good friend and person Nicole is.

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My good friend Nicole, as she often appeared before her battle with cancer – and how I will always remember her.

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Me at a party early on in my friendship with Nicole. This photo was one of our favorites of us. Someone in the comments from her family wrote “Who is he? Is he someone famous?” Nicole replied with a comment “Yes. I think he is.”

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Nicole with her brother Chris. Chris is also a former co-worker of mine, and still a friend. Seeing the two of them interact was a great joy to all.

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Nicole at my wedding, along with our mutual friend Kacie. These two ladies constantly supported me through my hardships. 

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Nicole and her amazing husband, Jeff – who is also a friend of mine. I am so glad they had each other.

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Graduated from Saint Joseph's College Of Maine with a Bachelor's in Fine Arts - Creative Writing as well as Stonecoast, a low-residency MFA program through University of Southern Maine. Has several screenplays, a novel, graphic novel and a memoir all in development.

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