They sentenced Mark Garity’s murderer yesterday to 20 years. He’d put a gun to Mark’s head and shot him, point blank. Then threw him out of the car and left him on the ground. On a street. At night. To be discovered later. All because Mark’s girlfriend told him to. He drove back to California in a car smattered with Mark’s brains.
The picture below is the last conversation I had with Mark. We were supposed to go out but he never got back to me. I only found out later he didn’t get back to me that night because he’s been lying lifeless on midtown asphalt, unable to respond.
I didn’t know Mark well. I met him when I started seeing his friend Oren. After Oren and I stopped seeing each other, Mark would text me whenever he’d see me in public. But we were never friends.
And then out of the blue, maybe a year later, he started texting me and asking to go out. Not on a date, just as friends. I was surprised by it, but I’ve never said no to someone who was in need of a friend. When I spoke to Oren about this after Mark died, he said he never knew how much Mark needed a friend. Mark needed someone positive in his life to talk about his shitty relationship with the girl I’d met on the night of their second date, a year and change before. They’d been fighting. And doing drugs. And the cops had been called. But I didn’t know any of this. I just thought he was a cute kid who’s been through stuff and maybe needed someone to listen.
We never did meet up. Over the few months we talked, I got the flu, pneumonia, shingles, and a burst blood vessel in my eye. But we got to know each other over Messenger. It seemed he loved San Carlos as much as I did.
We would have met up that night. Or sometime later. But he was killed before he could get back to me. It haunts me a little. The murder was so senseless. It was so cruel. It was so vicious and unnecessary.
I want Mark to be alive. But he won’t. Twenty years in prison is a long time, even if the murderer will never serve it all. I would ask for a hundred years, but it wouldn’t bring Mark back. And it won’t keep the next person from using a gun to kill someone over something that isn’t a big deal at all. My heart is heavy today. So I live with extra intent because he cannot.