Every year around this time, I have trouble sleeping.
There’s a voice in the back of my head all the time asking “What did they miss?”, but it gets louder in October.
No one remembers every detail about their lives when they’re starting school, but one thing I’ll always remember is that Dylan Koshman was my best friend. Before we had even met, we had both decided it that’s how it was going to be. When they were growing up, my mom and Dylan’s mom were best friends, and though they’d grown apart a bit as always happens, they both still lived in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
We lived in different districts to begin with, but in grade one, Dylan’s family moved across the street from our place, and we met each other after hearing so much about each other previously.
We were inseparable immediately, whether it was requesting to be on the same house league soccer team, playing road hockey, video games, swimming in my parents’ pool, or sleepovers at Dylan’s house (His mom is a nurse, so we got away with staying up later), we did everything together. The most vivid memories are when we would have snowball fights when Dylan’s older brother Derek and his friend (Bryce, I think?), who would mercilessly slaughter us until we were bruised, but we refused to give up. It always ended in fist fights, which we also lost.
Dylan and I had our lives planned out, we’d go to the same high school, the same university, and live in the same town. The only real fight we ever had was over having a crush on the same girl in grade three, which lasted all of one day, and one punch each, before we realized we were being stupid.
Everything changed in the middle of the year when I was in grade five, when my parents decided to move away from Moose Jaw, all the way to Fort McMurray, Alberta. After teary goodbyes, we promised to keep in touch. I didn’t know my new phone number yet, but I knew his by heart, and still do to this day.
Two times I went back to Moose Jaw in the next couple years, once with my parents, and once with my Aunt, and Dylan and I were as close as the day I left.
For awhile we would call each other every week or two weeks. Then it was every month or two, then it wasn’t much at all. High school had us both busier. I started dating the wonderful woman who would become my wife, Dylan was busy with his school, and girls.
Before long, I was moving to Montreal to study political science, and the gap between us widened.
Then one day in 2008, I got a call from my dad while I was at my then-girlfriend’s grandma’s house for dinner. I picked it up only to hear my dad say “Hold on, we’re with someone who would like to talk to you.”
“Hey, recognize my voice?”
Turns out my dad and youngest brother were in Edmonton for a concert, and Dylan recognized my dad in line outside the venue and came to say hi. We talked for at least 20 minutes, he was an apprentice welder living in Edmonton with his cousins, he had a girlfriend he was serious about. I got his cell number and email, added him on Facebook, and we talked frequently, it felt awesome.
About six months later though, Dylan stopped responding on Facebook, and he stopped picking up phone calls. I learned from Dylan’s sister, who lived with his dad when he was growing up, I didn’t know her, that Dylan had gone missing.
The story goes, that Dylan was angry at his cousins one night, possibly drunk, and left their place without a coat on, and threw his wallet into the neighbour’s yard. He never picked up his phone again, and no one has seen him since.
It’s been seven years. I don’t know what to think of what happened, but for seven years, Dylan’s family has suffered without closure. I don’t think that pain ever goes away. It might numb, but seven years on, I still dream about his stupid smile with one dimple, until I wake up and realize I’ll never see it again.
I miss you, bud.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.