Neil Elterman was my first boyfriend when I was in 6th grade. Neil Elterman was the first boy I smoked pot with, Neil Elterman was the first boy I listened to Metallica with, Neil Elterman was the first boy who broke my heart. And, as you can imagine, at 12 years old, there were a lot of other firsts (but no, not that one).
Neil Elterman had a cultivating personality. He was the leader of a group of five heavy metal mischief makers called the Dirtbags. Everyday Neil would act as ringleader to see what kind of trouble he could get them into that day, and you can only imagine the antics he would come up with.
Neil Elterman played games with me, games that men play. I didn’t even understand it at the time, but I would later, after dating so many other men. I could only wonder how he knew to do that at such a young age, how to be a bad boy.
Neil Elterman’s mother was sick. She was older than most of the other mothers and she had cancer. Much of Neil’s life was centered around a family who were constantly caring for her. His older sister did the best she could, but I suppose there was only so much she could do.
I remember when Neil’s friend told me she died…
Neil Elterman was smart. He was precocious. He was a leader. He could have been anything he wanted to be.
I didn’t know until I posted a picture of him on my Facebook page and someone wrote RIP next to his name. I googled him but came up with nothing, no memory, no memorial, no obituary, nothing. I finally worked up the nerve to ask a friend of mine.
Neil Elterman was a drug addict. Neil Elterman was a casualty. I’m sure he thought it was very impressive at the time. I’m sure he thought he was being innovative and glamorous. I wonder how he would have felt if he knew that he would be nothing, not even a link on the internet, just nothing.