My time at The Citadel wasn’t all bad. Not even close to it. For all the bullshit the school’s administration made us endure there was always something that could get us through. One of those things was my dear friend Taylor Evans.
Taylor was a year younger than me but boy did I look up to him. His determination, integrity, genius and kindness was unmatched by any person I have ever met. failure and mediocrity were never options for Taylor. The only bad quality Taylor had was that he was under 6′, but that only mattered to women which he never chased. He was my next door neighbor at The Citadel and also one of our best knobs from start to finish. Taylor was a devout Christian and also South Carolina’s only cowboy. Horse riding was his life long passion, and its something I never got to do with him.
I think the only reason Taylor (and any other of my classmates) liked me because I could make them laugh. He was at the table when I did the shampoo-conditioner routine as well as all my other dumb skits.
Knob year I had a terrible roommate, and by terrible I mean sent as a test from God himself to see if I could restrain myself from murdering him. I did, but not without a few punches thrown. This kid never showered, never brushed his teeth, never cleaned the room (very crucial at The Citadel), was/is fat (also a big no-no at The Citadel) and had a speech impediment. I still describe him as the personification of a slug that can sweat mayonnaise. He couldn’t pronounce his “r’s” and he developed a strange British accent because his voice coach was from England. Basically this was the easiest person to bully in public school ever. For the record I need to interject that growing up I was never a bully and I myself had even been bullied, so I had a lot of empathy for this kid. Or at least for the first month. One weekend early into the first semester we had a room and personal appearance inspection. Some how my slob roommate weaseled his slimy ass out of it and I had to do everything myself. Typical. Our sergeants made us stand outside of our rooms before they inspected our rooms. One of them came up to me to rag on how shitty I looked. “What did you shine your brass with?” he interjected. “Sir, Blue Magic, sir,” I replied, but thats not how I said it. The pronunciation that came out of my mouth was “Bwoo Magic.” So after I got roasted I finally got to talk back and say “Sir, this cadet recruit has developed a speech impediment from living with his roommate for too long.” The sergeant paused and turned away so he wouldn’t show me that I had made him laugh. Taylor and his roommate completely broke their stoic characters and started snickering. I had never seen Taylor break character but I was glad that I was the one that could do that. I’d use my power responsibly.
When sophomore year rolled around Taylor and I became very close. We developed a new passion of ours that only upperclassmen could take part of: hazing. I had two of my childhood friends that were a little younger than me show up on matriculation day and they were blessed to be in the same company as Taylor and I. By “blessed” I really mean “forsaken.” We never caused and physical harm to them, unless you consider making them do several sets of 118 push-ups with horseshoes of dip in their mouth physical harm. Yes, they definitely swallowed their dip and puked. The only reason Taylor and I hazed kids is because when Taylor and I were knobs we were so brainwashed that we thought getting hazed was fun.
For the second semester I had enough of The Citadel’s new regime change and all the bullshit that came with it, So I decided that I was going to get as far away from that school as possible by doing a semester abroad in Australia. I had the time of my life while almost all of my friends back at school were left suffering. Me being the dick that I am, I definitely flexed and rubbed it in in all of their faces. I regret being such an ass about it.
So half way into my booze drenched semester, I was chilling by the pool when I got a text from Taylor. He told me he had gotten into some trouble at school hazing the freshmen. But it wasn’t just him, it was a large population of our school that got busted. So I demanded that we FaceTime so I could get the scoop on all what was going on. He shared with me the news and my heart sank as far as it has for any woman thats dumped me. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t bring myself to it. As bad as the news was, Taylor had a plan. He was going to join the National Guard and join Clemson University’s Veterinarian program. He wanted to specialize in horse medicine since horses had always been his passion. That softened the blow knowing that he was going to do what was going to make him happy. I told him I loved him and I wished him luck as we hung up. That was the first time I lost Taylor.
The next school year I miraculously dodged all trouble and was never locked in my cell on the weekends. One weekend a few of my friends and I decided to go to Clemson to do what we did best– drink. We arrived at this bar call Study Hall and I was DRUNK. So I’m minding my own business, probably incoherently flirting with a girl, when I went back to the bar to get a very unneeded refill. As I was making my way to the bar I got shoved pretty hard in the back. With my testosterone starting to fuel a fight that would’ve easily been diffused if the shover said they were sorry, I got something even better. It was Taylor– with more facial hair. My face lit up like the 4th of July. “Taylor!” I screamed. He had been working as a bouncer to earn some extra cash. I embraced him, picked him up, and gave him a big ol’ kiss on the cheek. I was like a dog seeing their owner come back from war. We had a brief conversation before he had to go back to work but boy was it a refreshing one. And our last one.
Taylor Quinton Evans, 22, of Easley, met his Lord Jesus Christ on Friday, December 1, 2017. He was on his way to a country concert with his beautiful girlfriend. They were on the highway and clipped an 18-wheeler. Taylor wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and flew through the windshield and suffered a traumatic brain injury. His girlfriend, Emily, injured her spine but was thankfully not paralyzed.
One of the craziest things was that Taylor didn’t die instantly. In fact he lived so long that his organs could be harvested to help others in need. Taylor was an organ donor and coincidentally blood type O-, the universal blood type. Taylor and I both believe in God and God’s will. You cannot tell me that all of these coincidences were not part of some divine intervention. I just won’t believe you. I can’t remember the exact number of how many lives his organs saved, but it was a lot. Someone even got his heart.
The funeral and visitation were rough. It was great seeing the copious amount of people coming to pay their respects to Taylor and getting to see all of our classmates. There were a lot of tears, to say the least, but strangely none from me. I don’t know what it is about Taylor but I don’t think his spirit ever wanted to see me cry even when I wanted to more than anything. I felt bad that all my classmates were crying and my eyes were as dry as the Gobi Desert. I tried, I really did. Another crazy thing happened at the visitation. As I was approaching his body, the first dead body I’d ever seen, he freaking smiled at me. I kid you not. It was like he could see me. I didn’t smile back but it made me feel weirdly warm inside seeing his contagious smile one last time. His face got peaceful and rested and I fully approached him. I don’t remember what I said other than I loved him, I missed him and I was glad he is in a much better place. I do remember what I told his mom. I told her that he was one of the greatest people I had ever met in my life and that I couldn’t put into words how much I appreciated him.
Taylor Evans was definitely a good person, no question. I’m not just saying that because he’s dead. I literally don’t think a single person has ever said a bad thing about him. He was kind, dedicated, compassionate, a great leader, and most importantly a man of God. I am truly blessed that he came into my life. I can’t even put into words what he means to me, let alone the entire community he affected. I don’t know if I’ll go to heaven, but I do know this: If Jesus lets me in those gates the first thing I’m going to do is find Taylor give him another great big hug and maybe even a kiss on the lips this time.