I seem to have never written about this.
20 years ago this week we left Dean alone (January 24th, 1992). I was never alone that night. It seems hard to believe that anyone was. But Dean was.
Dean disappeared. We all went out. We all came home – except Dean. Dean never came home. 20 years later and he has never come home. I do not know much more than that. Other than that we should not have left him alone.
I lived at St. Joseph’s College during the the 1991-1992 school year. It was my first year of university and I was in general science. Dean lived in the dorm room directly above mine. A college outing was planned. We put on our college colours and invaded the Lister Hall bar. We walked four blocks from the college to Lister. There were fifty men in the college and nearly all of us went plus alumni. The bar was filled with St. Joseph Rangers.
It was cold. Cold like it is this week. But the bar was warm. We drank. We laughed. Likely we made asses of ourselves. As midnight came and went we began to go home. I went home with two other people. We walked home the four blocks. I fell into bed and slept until morning.
I think Dean left the bar about ten minutes after I did. He wasn’t the last person to leave. But he was quite drunk. When I left I could have asked him to come with us. But I assumed he’d head home with others. I wish I could say that I’d even thought about it, but I didn’t. When Dean did leave, he left alone.
He went out into the night and the cold alone. It was only a short walk home along a busy street past the Jubilee, the Butterdome and then up the steps into our college. A street filled with lights. But it was very late. It was late and cold. There were very few people out. Just us Rangers walking home before Dean and again some few minutes after Dean.
The bar was full. Full of us – a sea of college jerseys in blue with red and white stripes.
The next morning Dean didn’t come down to breakfast, but many didn’t. When he wasn’t around for lunch folks started to worry. We determined he wasn’t in the building. We figured out that he had never come home. Soon after that we knew he was missing. We started to search. Some wore jerseys and some didn’t, but it was a sea of Rangers searching campus. Then is was us and the police and others who came in to help. All together searching for the one person that we had left alone.
Twenty years ago, somewhere between the front door of Lister hall and the front door of St. Joseph’s college, Dean disappeared because we left him alone. Because we took it for granted. We were all together. We were on campus. We were so close to home. We didn’t have to leave Dean alone, but we didn’t think. We were careless. I was careless many, many times in my life. This one time it cost someone their life.
20 years ago this week.
I’m sorry. This post should be about Dean. Dean was quiet. He was smart. The last time I saw him he was happy with a grin that split his face in half and surrounded by friends. Dean was good people.