I remember Brian…

Brian.

I’m one hundred percent certain none of you have heard this story since it was a local news story out of Livonia Michigan, so it’s okay if you don’t understand.

On Wednesday, April 4th, a teenager by the name of Brian White entered the house of his ex girlfriend’s and he hacked her mother and current boyfriend to death with an axe. And just hours later he took his own life by a self-inflicted gun-shot wound to the head.

Some of you probably think Brian was insane. He wasn’t insane.

I know this because I went to school with Brian almost every day throughout elementary.

Yes, I knew Brian White.

The day after it happened all of these memories just started tapering back into my mind, even some of the smallest of memories that had no real bearing on anything. When I heard that this happened, you could say I was stunned to say the least. I didn’t cry when I heard the news, I was just utterly and unequivocally shocked. It didn’t make any sense to me, not one bit. The Brian that I knew was nothing like what we were presented with on the 4th.

From what I remember of him he was one of the sweetest guy’s I’ve ever known. We would often talk about movies, video games, the typical shit that dudes talk about. Keep in mind these were conversations that grade school kid’s were having so we didn’t know what we were talking about half the time. But there were times where I would say something I KNEW was an absolute fact but he refused to believe me even though I KNEW I was right. But that’s just the kind of guy he was, well, the kind of guy I remember.

 He was the kind of person that knew everybody in the classroom, talked to them, got to know them, became close friends with them. He was someone I’d like to consider a classroom-friend, I never hung out with him after school hours or anything, most of the time a lot my classmates were, as I call them: classroom-friends. But out of all of them, he was the one I remember the most of.

Fuck… I remember during my 2nd year of Kindergarten (Yes I had to repeat a year, fuck off) and I remember it quite vividly, he came in rather late one morning and I don’t think he stayed the whole day but he came in just to let everyone know that something happened to him in his life. He told us his father died. That was one of the thing’s that anyone who knew him remembered the most about, the fact he lost his father at such a young age. Perhaps this event all but guaranteed his ultimate fate? I don’t know, I can’t say. But all I can tell you is that despite the loss of his dad he remained one of the strongest kid’s I had ever known. He wasn’t even crying when he told us his dad died, and it was only a day after it happened that he told everyone. The words were: “My dad died last night.” but he said it, not somberly, not hesitantly, he said it… as if he were proud. As if he were proud in his father for fighting the pain he went through before ultimately dying. Obviously that wasn’t really how he felt, but I could tell by the tone of his voice that he either didn’t understand (Being a kindergartner you can’t understand the concept of loss) or maybe he was just so strong that he could say it with such ease to everyone that he knew. Including myself. Perhaps he was proud that his dad fought whatever killed him as gallantly as anything to the bitter end.

By the time I reached second grade he, again, was in my class. It was this year that I think he really understood and sunk in that his father was gone. I do not remember what stemmed this, but what I do remember is that Brian was crying, he was crying…

He cried in class over the death of his father and the most amazing teacher I’ve ever had, Mrs. Valenti, began consoling him. She had a very elegant way with words and anything she said always gave off a strong sense of comfort to anyone who listened. I remember one time, and Brian was not present, the topic of the class at the moment was an open dialogue about what happened with him the hours and or day before when he cried. I remember one of the students, Kelsey Gardiner, another old classroom-friend, said something that now seems eerily prophetic through my mind: “since he lost his father there’s that chance that he himself might end up dying as well” I’m very highly paraphrasing that but the message remains the same. And as it were… she was right.

Brian was deaf in one ear. That too was another defining feature that made him stand out above all the rest. Yet he prospered. I remember when he told somebody to talk into the deaf ear just so he could prove it. “Nope, didn’t hear a thing” is what he told that person.

I remember a time where I was acting VERY egotistical because I had built up what I like to call a tolerance for pain. This was mostly me just trying to be cool, but for all intents and purposes, for a first grader… it worked. I told him if he were to karate chop my arm I would NOT start crying. He did that. He did it… VERY HARD. It hurt, it really did. I’m not gonna lie, it hurt like hell. But you know what? I kept my word. I didn’t cry. And he told me “Man Ryan, you’re tough.” and that stuck with me. I felt proud for being in his praises. And although that was minuscule at best, it still stuck out to me in terms of memories.

I believe with the utmost certainty we have a home movie in which Brian appeared because it was one of those school holidays where Halloween was celebrated in each classroom. That’s what I loved most about elementary school, the fact it took time to celebrate all the holidays, put aside school work, to actually have a little fun for a change. I don’t know where the tape is but I’m sure I could find it somewhere where the videos are stored.

There are just SO MANY memories and times I remember having with Brian it’s hard to just distinguish amongst all the specifics here. I mean, I could if I wanted to, but I don’t think I need to make my point that decidedly clear. I mean, you would have to know by now that he was a good kid, a good friend, and although he went off to a different school after elementary and I never saw him again, I never forgot about him.

It was only a few months ago that I befriended him on Facebook because I had just wanted to see if he was still around and low and behold he was. I could tell almost instantly that he had changed, not just in stature but style as he got a lot of tattoo’s and his muscle mass increased by like 60 fucking bazillion. So let’s just say he became a pretty big guy. I mean, he was always tall but he became like a giant in later life.

The news, in order to achieve the biggest amount of hits they possibly can, believe that, based on his most recent facebook status’ that he was this very DISTURBED individual. But the reality of it is, these “bizarre” statues only came into play recently. I mean, he had always posted very philosophical posts and or quoted histories biggest people as well as movies but it was never anything other then just him posting stuff to his facebook for others to see. There was nothing really more to it then that. All they’re doing is reading into it all, sure, the status’ posted in the last week or so were very prophetic to what he was about to do, but they were by no means out of the ordinary.

My sister actually worked with him at Hiller’s market, he was a meat clerk and from what she remembers of him herself, he was a very nice kid. He talked to people, was never rude, just an all around nice guy, just as I remembered him myself. He quit working there I think back in 2010 or something, I can’t be quite sure.

I don’t know what caused it… I’m guessing the breakup… but… that makes no sense to me. Brian has weathered the storm so many times before why would now be so DRASTICALLY different? What could have caused him to just… snap like this? Perhaps the world just became too much for him. I don’t know. I can’t give out any answers because I’m asking the same questions. “Why did this happen?” that’s the thought that goes through everyone’s head who knew him, even if it were just for a short period of time. I would never go as far as to say that I knew him beyond what I saw at school, but I think I knew him enough. He was always happy, always smiling in photographs, always nice to others, a genuine soul. To think that THIS happened is something nobody can possibly fathom.

I remember his mother… and I can only imagine what’s going through her mind right now besides the immense sadness she’s feeling this very moment.

I send my condolences out to EVERYONE who was effected by this tragedy. Brian, his girlfriend, and the boyfriend’s family as this must be one of the worst week’s of your lives. And I doubt you’ll ever get over this pain.

People who didn’t know him will assume he was nothing but an insane monster. But that was just the person who died, the person who lived… the person I knew, was one of the best people I’ve ever known. I’m glad I was able to reconnect with him even if it were only for a short time… it goes to show you that I remembered him and he remembered me. And that says a lot.

I remember Brian.

——-Ryan West