Ever notice that, when you watch or listen to comedians, the "funniest" things they say, are simply just... things that are true? Things that make the audience furiously nod their heads in teary laughter and say "Oh my god, me too!" I think that's because the most humorous and relatable things are simply just.. true things. People are drawn to realness. Genuine things. Shamelessly themselves.. things.
This was Albert. He was so fearlessly and unapologetically "Albert," that you can judge him, be annoyed or angry with him, not understand him, but you couldn't help but love him. I haven't met a single person who disagrees. He was one of the most magnetic and attractive people I have ever met, simply because he was so effortlessly good at being "himself."
It's no secret that I had a crush on him when I was in middle school. I just saw someone so obnoxious and hard-headed yet silly and caring, someone who made me feel so special and loved, that I wanted to be close to him in any way possible. As a brother-figure, a father-figure, a friend, anything. I even asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance, despite the 2 year age difference (that is SUCH a big deal in high school). Even after I got over my crush (or maybe because I did), I saw so many things in him that I could truly respect and appreciate. Qualities that haven't changed, or grown even stronger and more salient throughout the years.
After he graduated high school and headed off to West Point, we kept in close contact, me, (of course) romanticizing the distance with hand-written letters, and him letting me know the exact dates he'll be back from wherever so we could catch up in person. Facebook chat and Skype actually felt like a disgraceful form of interaction with such a character like Albert. He was the first person I called when I broke up with my ex-boyfriend. "Suck it up Jessie. Stop crying. You know you're better than this." He was the first person that instilled a sense of self-worth and confidence in me when I was 12 years old, and at 22, the one I still found myself going back to. In a way, he introduced me to myself. A version of me that I liked, that I wanted to embody. He gave constant support. Reality checks. Tough love.
I think that's the perfect way to describe him, actually. "Tough love."
I'm fortunate in that, in 22 years, I've never experienced the loss of anyone this close to me. But I feel nothing could possibly prepare one for something like this. I feel like the world should stop. I want to wipe the smiles off strangers. I want to stop clocks, press 'pause' on my day. The fact that "life goes on" makes me more outraged than comforted. I try to pray but I'm filled with disbelief. "God, please, you're making a big mistake. The world needs more people like Albert, not less. The world needs Albert. I need Albert."
I've been looking through our old conversations and am even more amazed at the person you are. "A life of selflessness lasts an eternity." And that's the life you lived. You will always remain in my thoughts and prayers. You are loved and missed. You are, are, "are," not "were," one hell of a human being.
RIP 1LT Albert Song, my hero.