Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nicassio [Coz] Johnson, and Why I Will Miss Him.

I don't even know how to start this.  It still feels surreal.

On Saturday the 6th, I was rushing through my parents' house, trying to get myself ready to go to my cousin's cutie-pie kids' dual birthday parties.  Most of the family left before me, leaving me at home with my dad and The Hubs.  I noticed a friend from my old days at The Ocho had called and left a pretty bizarre voicemail.  It made me... suspicious.  So, like I usually do in these situations, I checked Facebook.  Where I saw the words RIP Coz.

And my legs went out from under me.

I met Coz while working at The Ocho in 2004.  I worked at The Ocho for a total of 15 months, and Coz started there just about 3 weeks before me.  I started on Morningside, and he came over from Nightside shortly after we were hired, along with our third team member Dax.  The three of us literally ran the floor, with Paulie, Ilya, and Betty running things from the control room, every single morning for those 15 months.  I spent more time with them than I did with pretty much anyone else during those months.  When your shift STARTS at 4 am, no one else is around to hang with you.  Your co-workers become your friends by default.

Lucky for me, I couldn't have picked better guys if I tried, especially Coz and Paul.  Every interesting work-related story I have is from this time, from the Jumping Out Of A Giant Box To Scare Other People story to the Let's Watch A Six Foot Four-ish Large Black Man Extract Himself From The Back Of A Volkswagen story to our random talks about cartoons and baseball and religion and politics and Black History Month and Journey and Cankles and Japanese Van Suicides and epic floods and MacGuyver and Dead Otter News...

Did I mention we started our shift at 4 am?

I moved away to RI (briefly) and back to DC and then to C-ville and then BACK to DC after I left The Ocho, but I didn't lose touch with Coz.  He was always a pretty large presence in my life, both physically and mentally.  Every new job made me wish I was still working with the Little Big Bear (despite the better pay and the even better hours).  We had successfully infiltrated each other's lives outside of work, something practically unheard for me, and it always blew my mind when I found out my BFF from forever, my BFF from JMU, and Coz were all together without me.

Which just makes it all the more terrible to find out that he's gone.  I have some inklings about what happened to him, though I'm still not sure on all the details (don't know if I want to be).  Depending on the day, hour, and minute, I'm sad or angry or frustrated or laughing or clutching at my chest in pain.  I don't understand why this happened, and I know I never will.

Strangely, I consider myself lucky that Coz wasn't in my daily life anymore.  I had a chance to miss him already, and I certainly did.  This will all hit me even harder months from now, when we're planning a big party and I'm calling all my friends to show up and I realize I haven't heard from him in so long, and I'll look at my phone and remember... oh... that's right.  It still feels sort of... fake to me right now.

I'm concentrating on those great stories now, remembering how much we laughed together.  More than anything, that boy could get me laughing like I would never stop, and about the most random silly bits ever like Grandpa's Itchy Stomach or quotes from the Oblongs.  I'll miss that the most.  Coz truly understood me just as I am- not work Jessica or JMU Jess or jeskuh.  Just me.  There aren't many people out there like that for me, and it sucks that there's one less...

All I know is that I miss my friend.
And he is laughing at me for all of this.
"Really, Boom?  All this sadness and emo and a friggin' BLOG POST, for me?  Really?"

Deal with it.


  1. Jessica - Again, I am so so so SO sorry about the passing of your friend. I have lost many people in my life, but have never experienced the death of a true friend. And I hope to never have to. He sounds like a wonderful guy and I know for a fact that if you call him a friend, he was definitely a great guy. I know you keep good company! ;) Anyway, wish I could give you a hug or something, but just know that you are in my prayers. Love,

  2. Hi - random reachings-out from a random internetter... but I am really sorry to hear this. You'll definitely be in my thoughts today.

  3. Very nice Jess. Huggs across teh interwebs.