Chapter 27 - Surprise, Surprise
Now I have had a few surprises in my life as we all have experienced, but by far, one of the best surprises I ever received was at Tobin’s funeral. I was a pall bearer since we had been best friends and it was just a beautiful day to be outside, even at a funeral. The sun was shining, the sky was as blue as it could get, and the birds were flying. It just truly was a gorgeous day for a funeral. It was actually a really, really nice funeral. His mom had put together this awesome PowerPoint presentation of his life since he was born up until his unfortunate accident. It was nice to see me up there in a lot of the photos with him. I had forgotten all the things Tobin and I had done together as friends and his mother loved to take pictures. There was this one picture that had the three of us in it. The picture had Tobin, Tammy, and me, with innocent little Tammy in the middle between us, with her arms around both of us. I had seen that picture before, but never thought much of it until it flashed up on the big screen.
I could see it now for the first time up there on the big screen. There was something there between them already. A connection of some type and that picture was taken early, early on. You could see there was some type of bond forming between them. The way he had his arm on her, very relaxed like, very comfortable and how she had his arm around his waist and it looked as though she was pulling him close to her and he pulling her close to him.
Both his mom and dad spoke at the funeral however, that wasn’t the surprise. The funeral at the church finished and we motorcaded out to the gravesite. I got to ride in a limo so that was pretty cool. Several of his close friends, a few cousins, along with me, carried him in the casket over to the grave. Damn he was fucking heavy and we had to walk up a small incline to where the hole had been dug. I never thought we were going to reach where we could set the casket on the railings that would eventually lower Tobin into the ground.
At the end of the graveside ceremony everyone that had one, put a flower on the casket and tears were flowing and bla bla bla. You know the routine. Finally, everyone started to leave the area and I started to walk back towards the road. Well Tobin’s father comes up to me and asks me if he could talk with me in private for a few minutes.
Oh shit I thought, “Of course Mr. Clayborn.” I replied.
Why does he want to talk to me in private? Did someone see me over there that day? No, no, impossible or the cops would be talking with me. I didn’t understand why he wanted to talk with me. My brain was racing as he led and I followed walking well away from the burial site and the people still standing there.
Mr. Clayborn stopped and said, “Daniel, I know how much you cared for Tobin and you all were best friends. I never heard Tobin say a harsh word about you and he always talked about how much fun you all had together, the good times you both shared, and how much he thought of you.”
“Yes sir we did. We had so many good times and I thought the world of Tobin Mr. Clayborn. I still, can’t believe he is gone.” I said and was thinking where the hell is this conversation going.
“He always spoke so highly of you Daniel. Always!” Mr. Clayborn continued. “His mother and I are so thankful you were in Tobin’s life and we are both thankful you were his best friend. That’s why his mother and I want you, and I know he would want the same, to have his pride and joy, his RX-7!”
HOLY SHIT!! Did he just say what I think he said?? Did he just say he wants to give me Tobin’s bad ass sports car?? This isn’t fucking happening. I stood there in complete and total shock. I just looked at him. I couldn’t speak. I didn’t know what I should say. I continued looking up at him. I was shaking my head a little back and forth. Ok, get in the zone. It’s theater training time.
“What? No sir, I can’t Mr. Clayborn. That was Tobin’s car and you should keep it.” I said with a sad look and I think I mustered a little tear in my left eye.
“NO Daniel!” Mr. Clayborn immediately said like I had said the one thing I was not allowed to say.
Mr. Clayborn continued, “He would have wanted you to have his car and you have to take it. I already have talked with your mother and she approves. She knows why I am talking to you and what Tobin’s mother and I want and we want you to have it.” Mr. Clayborn looked over to the cars parked over on the roadway.
I looked over in the direction where Mr. Clayborn was looking and immediately saw my mom standing there with her arms crossed, looking up to where we were standing. Cuddos to you mom I thought!! This is way too cool. This is not freaking happening.
I replied, “I don’t know what to say. I just don’t know Mr. Clayborn…”
Mr. Clayborn cut in quickly again, “Well his mother and I know what is going to happen as we have talked about this and we both want you to have the car and enjoy it and there is no more discussion about it. But, I ask one thing of you.”
“Yes sir, Anything Mr. Clayborn. What?” I asked.
“Don’t ever forget my Tobin!”
“Oh, I won’t Mr. Clayborn. Trust me; I will never, ever forget my best friend Tobin!”
And that is how I came to have the most beautiful Satin Gold 1986 Mazda Savanna RX-7 GT-Limited, manual five speed gearbox, rear wheel drive, 0-60 in under six seconds (that was fast for back then), from that day on, and all the way through college.
And let me tell you. I loved that car so much and you know what? That RX-7 helped me get over the loss of Tobin pretty darn fast….