I first wrote about Brendon in 2008, two years after his murder, when I was still in a state of rage about what had happened to him. I couldn’t write for a while but then I wrote about him again in 2017, then in 2018, still carrying all that rage. He was my stepson. He made a positive impact on those who knew him. His life was cut short for no good reason, and I can go on and on with that refrain, but to what end? Nothing can bring Brendon back to my life except, I am told, to celebrate it. I realized this fact of life only after a high school friend of Brendon’s, I’ve named Cotta, contacted me recently.
She said she liked my writing but hated my blog post. I didn’t blame her. There was some explicit language in that piece and a whole lot of pent-up anger. It got me to thinking, then re-reading the pages of my post, then thinking some more.
I could read the rage in my writing. I could read the despair I felt.
While it was a curative for me to get those thoughts out, I knew that I didn’t want to do that anymore. I didn’t want to dwell anymore on the actions surrounding his passing. After talking with Cotta, I came to terms with the peace I felt from having known this young man when he was still in the prime of his life; and also when he was a success in school, having retained two scholarships and straight A’s his first semester in community college.
There’s a certain resignation in knowing that the killer (to remain unnamed) will never see the outside of his prison cell in his lifetime. I was ready to let go of the anger I had been feeling for over a decade. I was ready to celebrate what was the short but happy life of Brendon Glen-David Martin. Thus this post.
Following are a couple of stories, reminiscing happier times.
And, thank you, Cotta, for crossing paths with my life when I apparently needed that path crossed.
Brendon had just turned 18 when he came to my home with nothing more than the clothes on his back, a second set of ripped up jeans, a white t-shirt, and some video game components all in a fairly empty suitcase. Why was the suitcase so big? Why was there so little in it?
“Did you pack this yourself?” I asked. He shrugged. “Where was your mother?”
I busted out into one huge laugh, then I shrugged too and shook my head. This was the baggage I was left with upon Brendon’s arrival. I turned to his dad and told him that his first project was to get “this kid some clothes.”
Brendon had no cooking skills. He knew how to use the microwave to warm up frozen food and he knew how to use a toaster and that was the extent of it. Since I had nary a frozen meal in the freezer, he was totally dependent on me, and plum out of luck if it wasn’t meal time. Shortly after Brendon came to live with me, I had to make it clear that I was not his personal cook.
He had asked me to take the peppers out of some Huevos Rancheros I was cooking up. Would you believe? I told him that if he wanted something else, he’d have to make it himself.
His mouth gaped open. He’d apparently never thought of making a meal for himself, nor was he into new tastes and food sensations. Everything he ate was smothered with Cholula hot sauce. It was pretty dim until the night I served pesto pasta, one of my favorite side dishes.
Brendon eyed the green linguine and asked me what it was. I told him that I had a bumper crop of basil, which is what makes the pesto green, and I added some other ingredients to make it “savory” for the senses. It peaked his interest and he scooped a bit onto his plate. I ignored him until he pulled up another scoop.
“Ah, you like it.” I pronounced. Mouth full, he agreed with a happy shake of his head.
I told him how easy it was to make: 10 minutes on the pasta and a scoop of the pesto and whalla! A fine dish. I showed him where I kept the pesto in the fridge and thought it was over. I had taught him his first basic cooking skill: making pasta. What I didn’t count on was how much he would like it.
Days later, when I wanted to fix my favorite side dish again, I found the pesto jar empty. I noticed the Cholula was not, then confronted Brendon about the empty jar. He shrugged and said, “I thought you wanted me to cook for myself.”
From that day forward, I always kept pesto in the fridge for him and, even today, I think of him when I eat anything with pesto in it.
Brendon’s favorite song-writer was Kid Rock; his fav band, Rage Against the Machine; and his favorite song was Ricky Martin’s Livin’ la Vida Loca.
The photos, artwork, and audio of Brendon in this post are all I have of him and is posted here for the entire world to enjoy. If you have a photo of Brendon you’d like to see posted here? Contact me.
Have a story or comment about Brendon? Please post in the comments below. It’d make my day and help make this post more complete.