I have so many wonderful childhood memories of Bryan, I don’t know where to begin.

  • There was that time we stayed up all night eating junk food in his pop-up camper, which was parked in the driveway. Wayyyy too many off-brand Cheetos and Sugar Daddies.
  • Or that time he instigated a marshmallow fight and his house became a war zone. The sound of a big marshmallow hitting him square in the forehead is forever imprinted on my brain.
  • He was my only friend with a Lego Monorail set, which I’m still jealous of to this day.
  • Bryan’s wonderful mom and dad always treated me like family. I’ll never forget being there for one of their family movie nights, which I believe was a Friday tradition reserved mostly for family. They bought a bunch of really great pizza and put on Clue, the movie, which I still can’t watch without thinking of Bryan and how we both laughed for way too long when the singing telegram got shot. Very few homes made me feel at home. The Kisiels’ was always one of them.
  • There was that significant time in high school where he insisted that his last name was actually Kisielewski and he used it on all his school assignments.
  • Or in elementary school, when he would construct these little fold-out paper computer models, and he gave me his best one. I think I might still have it in a memory box.
  • I remember how he became the sort of unofficial “King of the Tech Crew” and how he always had a multi-tool in the pocket of this really old jacket he used to wear all the time
  • The delight he would take in absurdity.
  • How much he laughed when my dad told him that if he unscrewed his belly button, his butt would fall off.
  • How much we all laughed all through elementary, middle and high school… and how jokes and conversations were always better when he was in on them.
  • How he attended my wedding after four years of barely seeing each other or talking during college, and how it was like no time had passed at all.
  • The various times he’d take his beloved pet ferrets out of their cages and either chuck them (lovingly) into the pool so they could swim, which they seemed to enjoy, or into the plant bed in the front yard, where’d they proceed to frolic joyfully, both of which entertained us for hours.
  • How he knew everything about everything, and was good at almost everything, yet never acted pretentious about it.
  • How much teachers loved his intelligence and sense of humor–how much we all did.

One of my strongest memories of Bryan surfaced recently, with the launch of the new Indiana Jones movie, and it really clarified for me just how special he was, and made me miss him like crazy. Many years ago, I went with Bryan and his family to see “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” in the theater. If memory serves, I must have been around 10 or 11, because I think that’s around the time I got glasses, and I wasn’t wearing them all the time. Which means I’d sometimes forget them. When we reached the theater, I realized I’d forgotten my glasses and was pretty upset about having to watch the movie with blurry vision. Because we’d tried on each other’s glasses in the past, Bryan knew that our prescriptions were really close, and he said I could wear his. I was like, “What about you?” He proceeded to take off his watch. He showed me how if you looked through one of the tiny holes in the band, you’d see more clearly because the light hitting your eye would be limited (it’s why people squint in order to see things that are far away). He then proceeded to watch the entire movie that way–through a hole in his watch band. As a kid, I always chalked it up to Bryan being the delightfully nerdy weirdo that we all knew him to be, tickled by the idea that he could use a little bit of science to make his vision better. Thinking of that experience now, as an adult, I don’t think Bryan was being quirky. I think he was simply being kind to a friend he cared about. I never knew Bryan to be emotional, but this memory helped me realize something that had never occurred to me before, that Bryan was so smart and had such a great heart that would could find tricky ways to demonstrate love without ever making it obvious, or a big deal. The fact is, he didn’t want me to suffer. What a great friend. I’ll never forget him.