Remembering Kendall Mack

I knew Mac for over 20 years. We were both kids on the school yard. My earliest memory of Mac was seeing him on the school yard play-fighting with his classmates. He was always a big guy. There would be a swarm of kids surrounding him and he’d tag them with hits left and right whilst making the sound of a punch. Mac and I weren’t in the same class because he was an older student; we wouldn’t formally meet until high school. During a time where we went to completely different schools, but spent our free time hanging out at the same video game arcade on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

We called ourselves the Cyber Crew.

A group of teenagers who spent our time after-school playing video games and playing trading card games. During the summertime, we’d spend all day together doing the same. Mac was one of the main guys…

He passed away last week, and I can’t stop thinking about his legacy.

It’s been a week since I found out and it still shakes me up. One of my childhood friends is gone. And I think what hurts the most is the fact that Mac was one the nicest guys I knew. I have folks who come and go in my life, but Mac has always been consistent. He’s always been great to me and my family. I have memories of him clowning around with my little brother. Hanging out in Chinatown playing video games. And playing Manhunt at Morningside Park after sundown.

And so here I am. Grieving. Looking at old photos of me in previous life. Hanging out as a member of the Cyber Crew and trying to find context behind the photos. This will be cathartic for me. So let’s take a look.

2004

This picture was taken during the summer of 2004. I used to carry an old Kodak film camera, and I’d often take photos of our nights out in the town. On the left is James Covington and the right is Kendall Mack. At first I couldn’t remember the context behind the photo. But then I noticed the water spilled by James’ feet. Water balloon. His hand is out in a “what the hell?” gesture. Likely due to someone throwing a water balloon at him. Mac, being the good guy that he is, is identifying the culprit. Typical summertime shenanigans for us during summer back then.

2005

This one was taken during summer 2005 at a bowling alley in Port Authority. In the Foreground is Marlon Brown. I honestly have no clue behind the context of the photo. I used to just snap away. Often catching folks off guard which results in these weird expressions. Marlon is holding water. We were not old enough to drink back then. During the summer of 2005 we’d spend our weekends at the bowling alley because they had a special going on. I think we bowled unlimited for a low entry fee and were given a substantial amount of tokens for the arcade. So we’d bowl amongst each other while playing video games in the arcade.

2008

These are the last pictures I have of Mac. They were taken using a digital camera. It’s amazing how digital photography changed the game. Now I can snap away as many photos as I want and was able to get more to show from that day. It was my cousin’s birthday, Christmas Day 2008. I honestly can’t tell you much about that day. I think we celebrated my cousin’s birthday at a Red Lobster in Times Square. It’s the only picture of Mac and I, and I’m extremely grateful for it.

As the years went by, I saw Mac less…

I engaged with different social circles and found myself spending less time with those I grew up with. That’s life. But I remember, Mac always being there. Like when we saw each other for my cousin’s birthday, it was just like old times; without the video games.

I last spoke to Mac online earlier this year.

If I knew that would be the last conversation I had with him, I’d thank him. For being one the best friends I could ever have growing up in the city. New York can be an overwhelming environment, but we protected each other and did our very best to have each other’s back. I only wish I saw him more when I’d return home to visit.

I have so many stories, but I’ll leave it at that. No proofreading tonight, I’m just gonna post this rant raw and unedited.

There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll leave it at that. I have great memories hanging out with Mac and the guys back home. We were just a bunch of nerds, and we lost one of the best of us. Rest in Peace Mac.

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