Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Memories of Angelo

photo © LaBare Dallas
If you follow EC authors on Facebook and Twitter, you all know that a beloved Caveman, Angelo was killed in Dallas last weekend.

I admit freely I did not know this young man well - not even as well as I would have liked. But what I knew, I liked very well indeed. In fact, I adored him. He was sweet, funny, a magnetic leader, and gave the best damn hugs ever. He also had a warm heart and genuinely liked people - women in particular - and we all knew it.

For myself, the first year I went to Romanticon was also Romanticon's first year. I was new to EC and scared to death. Nervous about all the other authors. Intimidated by meeting the staff. And frankly apprehensive about approaching or getting anywhere near men who were just that unbelievably good looking. See, my experience with good looking men has not been positive. I've often found them to be, at best, distant and cool, and at worst, derisive and condescending. The cavemen weren't like that - they were nice guys. I was pretty shocked and pleasantly surprised.

In particular, Angelo was different. He stood out. He kind of had to. He was a REALLY tall guy. Broad shouldered. Just big. Still kind of intimidating for me at first, but he had a really nice smile. And it was a smile he seemed to mean. So like all the women there, I started circling around him like he was the sun and we were satellites in orbit around him.

That first year he seemed a little shy. Kind of cautious. I think he was still working things out for himself. Or maybe I just assumed that, I'm not sure. But that tiny hint of shyness made him seem more approachable. So I got him to sign my book, which he did. In Spanish. At that point, I just started to hang out in his area. I hope the poor guy didn't find me stalker-ish. It was just that he fascinated me. Grin.

The next year, Angelo was the leader. He seemed more outgoing - though that was probably how he always was anyway - it just stood out from the first year. Angelo was also the life of the party. And every lady present followed him around like he was a rock star. Well, he kind of was. He had that sort of magnetism.

In fact, I remember at one point he started a conga line and we all got behind him and followed him all over the room - he was a regular pied piper. I caught his arm and tugged him down so he could hear me (he was wearing these incredibly HIGH platform boots that were part of his costume for the evening) and I told him that if he could get me to run around the room and work up a sweat, he really ought to consider pursuing a career as a personal trainer. When I heard later on that he'd done that, I wasn't at all surprised. He really was a natural. I think he was already helping his friends with work outs, and maybe he had planned it all along. But if he needed any encouragement, I hope my words that night provided some.

Last year, I was thrilled to see Angelo again and when he saw me, he knew what was coming  and just grinned, opening his arms to give me a big bear hug. I loved that about him. He didn't give me the impression that my affection for him was an imposition in any way. He smiled instead. Took in the affection I felt and returned it in good measure. I can't remember how many hugs I got last year and the year before, but I cherish every one of them.

The picture at right was the last hug I got from Angelo. It was after the bingo party on Sunday night. Some of us were kind of reluctant to leave and he and Rodney stayed until the last of us drifted away to head for our rooms. I was really looking forward to seeing him again this year. When I heard he wasn't going to be able to attend, I was sad I wouldn't get to see him, but so happy to hear he was thriving with his new gym and the life he had in Dallas.

Learning the news a week ago that he'd been murdered was horrible. He was so young and had so much yet to give. So much yet to do. I just can't quite get my head around it. I want to say that my heart goes out to his family and close friends who had the good fortune to know this amazing man so well. I wish them the best during this really difficult time. I can only hope it's some consolation - however small it might be - to know in the outpouring of grief and sadness of others just how many lives he touched. Because he did.

I'm reminded of the line from "It's a Wonderful Life," where the angel, Clarence says to George, "Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" Clarence was so right. Angelo touched so many lives that his passing leaves an awful hole. But those who knew him will always have the joy of having known a kind, genuine person who looked like an angel and had the soul of one, too. Good bye, sweet man. I'll miss you now and forever more. 


**Note**
Angelo was not only working to support himself, but a son, and family in Venezuela. The family could use some assistance with funeral expenses. To contribute to the fund to help Angelo's family, without worrying about scams go here:  http://www.rubenfund.com/
There you'll find the PayPal account set up for donations.

8 comments:

  1. Francesca, beautifully said. While I was never lucky enough to meet Angelo, I have heard you speak of him on many occasions. So, through you, I feel as though, in a way, I knew him, too. A very wonderful young man, taken away from us way too soon. He will be missed. May he rest in eternal peace.

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  2. What a beautiful tribute. I remember you speaking of Angelo last year after the conference and I remember how genuinely impressed you had been. From the outpouring of everyone who knew him, I know he must have been an exceptional person and he will be missed. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

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  3. Francesca thank you for sharing this very personal and beautiful tribute.

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  4. Ladies, thanks for stopping by. Angelo will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

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  5. Francesca, this is a beautiful, beautiful tribute.

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  6. Damn, you made me cry again. Every time I think of him, every time someone reinforces my memories of him with their own, my heart aches again. Thank you for this love letter to Angelo.

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  7. Dalton and Cris - thanks. I'm going to miss that young man very much.

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