Katie Baker

First Meetings, Last Memories

Early this fall, I went over to a friend’s room for a little college football-watching session. Andrew Dwyer was there of course—would he ever miss an opportunity to hang out and watch football—but something was different about him. Something about his hair—

He had cut his hair into a mullet.

And this wasn’t your everyday, hockey-player, I –missed-a-haircut, accidental mullet. It was a work of art: top hair slicked back, side hair shorn almost to the point of nonexistence. Business in the front, party in the back.

Meanwhile, Andrew had on his classic ensemble—Fisher’s Island golf shirt, shorts, and reefs—hardly congruent with the new ‘do.

“I like the haircut,” I remarked.

Those of you who knew Andrew know what happened next. He shrugged, as if it were nothing out of the ordinary, and in a completely serious tone explained,

“I’m just keeping it real.”

I’m going to miss his sense of humor.

It was subtle, hard to explain in writing, but never failed to make me laugh to the point where I felt self-conscious. I can remember exactly how he delivered his trademark lines, and the look on his face when he’d say them. He was always smiling—that’s what I remember most.

From time to time, at like 2 a.m., we’d have long, earnest conversations, sometime outside Toad’s, sometimes on Instant Messenger, in which we’d discuss the important things in life: TV shows and movie quotes, usually.

I consider myself a movie quote connoisseur, but he had me smoked every time. I stumped him once, pulling out the “meow” line from “Super Troopers,” which he immediately contested because “Super Troopers” was not a classic, and he had not seen it.

“’Super Troopers’ is a modern classic,” I said.

He looked at me, shaking his head, clearly displeased. “The only modern classics are ‘Austin Powers,’ early Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley movies,” he said with a seriousness usually reserved by most people for discussing the economy or politics.

I’m going to miss our conversations. They were sometimes serious, sometimes sarcastic, always funny, always refreshing. Andrew kept me on my toes, and if I made a comment, a joke, or a statement that wasn’t up to par, he’d let me know.

Last Wednesday, a week ago from the time I write this, Andrew walked me home from Toad’s. This was nothing new—he’d helped me home from many a toads’ night—but this time I was quite a handful. I’d lost my jacket somewhere inside and was cold and in tears, worried what my mom would do to me when she would found out that I was down a jacket, a cell phone, and wallet.

But like the friend he was, Andrew dealt with me. He gave me his jacket and walked me to my room. On the way, I managed to trip and fall, biting partway through my tongue in the process and sending myself in hysterics.

The next day, he sent me an IM, teasing me for being, in his words, an emotional roller coaster. I told him I’d bring his jacket by his room.

When I got there, he had already left for New York City.

I’m going to miss his friendship.

I still have the cut in my tongue that I sustained that night. I figured he’d be giving me a hard time about it when he saw me next. I never would have thought it would outlast him.

I’ve been completely devastated lately, but then I get some images in my mind—Andrew as a roll of Lifesavers on Halloween, Andrew dancing it up at the DKE formal, Andrew heating up leftover sesame chicken on his George Foreman Grill, Andrew kicking back at his house at Fisher’s, Andrew lighting up when I mentioned his favorite two words: “Joe Millionaire,” Andrew wandering around the DKE backyard, missing a flip-flop but never missing a smile—and somehow, it makes me feel better.

He was always happy, he was always making everyone around him happy, and most importantly, he was always surrounded by people who loved him, right up to the end.

Andrew, I’m going to miss you.