That was the day I met Devon Oxford was like.
Casa Grande has had bookstores come and go, not much of a reading populace to sustain one for long. This moment in time we had a real one with the works, books, magazines and other little items. I'd read about a book called the 'Necronomicon' being published in hardback as well as a limited edition of (Yep) 666 signed and numbered. At that time I only wanted the regular edition and asked the owner to order one for me. From behind a voice say 'Make that two.'
I looked at the voice and that's when I met Devon. I'd seen him around town before, you couldn't miss him with his black suit, immaculate hair and beard, not to mention the giant pentagram buckle on his belt. Next to him was his wife, Cindy, just as beautiful as he, her hair so long it seemed like it wanted to make friends with the floor, also wearing black.
Here we were, souls who were alike coming from different places and times and had an instant bond that few people in this world ever get to know. I came from a world which included a Bible School and short, I mean really, really short, time in the ministry afterward. Before that I had a practical experience with a real Satanic group back in college...Still kept in touch with some of them though it took a lot to prove to them I hadn't gone to the 'Other Side'...
...I had simply grown up and on toward embracing the natural influences of the world now known as Wicca.
We had a lot in common: We'd both read Aleister Crowley, had some interesting conversations over the 'Book of the Law' (Some day I'll share Devon's recipe for 'Crowley Cookies'), his other books and our love for the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and my (Still unresolved) dream of illustrating 'The Dunwich Horror'. The one thing we didn't have in common was his uncanny ability to play the guitar, an instrument I completely sucked at.
He use to go with me to Tempe where we'd visit old bookstores and once we walked into a Christian bookstore where I asked for a copy of the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament. You could tell the guy waiting on us clearly wanted to be somewhere else and eventually said they didn't have one, adding they had a Hebrew copy of the New Testament. There was a silent pause (Devon knew how to time his words), and he looked at the sweaty seller and asked: 'Doesn't that contradict the whole concept of being a Christian?'
The guy just stared as we left the store without anything but a precious moment of joy that belonged to us alone.
We were there through thick and thin, when our marriages ended, when life kicked us down and so much more. He took me to meet his parents (Who didn't like calling him Devon for reasons I'll not speak of now) and he really helped free me up from a lot of old thoughts and nightmares which had haunted me throughout my life.
Until I backed myself into a corner of which I could see no escape, so I disappeared.
For ten years only my sister knew where I was at any given time but I discovered I couldn't outrun my own disturbed mind and it didn't matter what I drank or swallowed or inject could kill the pain of the mess I'd made of my life. After entering Rehab the first thing I did was start a search for Devon. This predates the internet but I had a friend at ATT who did a search for me and contacted some of the old friends we'd shared and couldn't find him.
I finally did and I apologized (Many times) for my actions in the past. Eventually the computer came around to me and I called him on Skype and constantly sent messages through Messenger and toward what I now know was the end I was going through my art, signing them because my sister insisted I do so, and came to those I drew when I worked for an 'Adult' film company (Not proud of it but I did some of my best work there). I asked him if he'd like them and so I sent 'em out, which made Beth feel a bit better about going through my work when my end comes. He also sent me something incredibly personal and has never left my person since that day.
I miss Devon. His death made this world a whole lot less than it had been and I do not exaggerate when I say I would have traded places with him in a heartbeat. Anyone who has ever known him knows exactly how I feel, the incredible loss of a person so unique, intelligent and embracing without judgement as Devon had been.
His best advice to me: Never open any gate which he couldn't close. I drew a cartoon about that once which had Devon shouting at me as the two of us tried to keep a tentacled terror trying to break through a large spiritual door in space.
Still, good advice.
Don't let his name be forgotten.