I stumbled upon you when a few boys in my class were up to no good and sneaked in their MP3 player in the class. They were yelling and showing off about their music taste. One of them played the song “Numb” and that was the first time I heard it. I liked it and I knew I was going to find it on youtube when I go home. I did just that. Since then, you became my favorite person. It was not because your band was successful or popular, but because your voice made me feel at home. Your band felt like a safe place and your voice was one of the biggest reasons why I fell in love with your music.
I listened to your songs when I was upset, or having a bad day. I also listened to them when I was angry, like, really angry. But, then something changed in college. I felt different things which were bigger than myself… it was then when I realized that the world is bigger than me. I listened to your music and related it with different things – other than just me and my experiences.
I was obsessed with your band in Junior College. I listened to you all the time. While going to college, in breaks, while studying in the library, while coming back home, at home, while doing my homework, and while sleeping. I was listening to your music when I was sad and when I was happy.
I listened to your album “A Thousand Suns” the most and it is still my favorite album, and it will always be. The songs on that album spoke to me on a different level. It was that time when I was thinking about the world, about the wars, about the crimes, about reality. I don’t think there could be anyone who could have sung those songs better than you and Mike. Or even composed them, or written them. You felt like home. You were the person who would turn all my thoughts into a piece of art with your songs. You made me understand what it feels like to have a favorite band member, a favorite band. You made me understand what it feels like to identify with a band and their music.
Then, when I graduated from Junior college to Degree college, I started listening to different kinds of music. While you were always there in all of my playlists, I did not listen to you as much like I used to. Your band released The Hunting Party and I did not listen to it for about a month because I knew you were getting hate. I knew people were telling you that you have changed, and aren’t true to your previous style. But, that was the entire foundation of your band – Linkin Park was known for their versatile music. You guys took big risks and even though your fans did not like albums like A Thousand Suns and Living Things at first, they accepted that it was nothing but art in the end. I argued and argued with everyone about that. In fact, I even remember arguing with a close friend of mine because she insulted your song “Castle of Glass”. I knew what that song meant to you, and I wasn’t having it from someone who did not know you or your band badmouth you.
I, however, wish I never stopped listening to you. I wish I never stopped watching your interviews. But, I got busier and busier with new artists and college and new experiences. Your music was always there, though. In all of my playlists, you were there. But, it’s almost like, I wasn’t there for you anymore.
I heard about your new album and I knew you were again getting hate for trying something new, for experimenting and taking a risk. I listened to Battle Symphony and Invisible. So, I understood why you were getting such negative feedback. I loved the songs, and I was going to download your album. But, I kept procrastinating it because I always listen to your new albums in my room, all alone, absorbing every lyric.
So, I made up my mind that last Sunday, I would finally download your album and listen to it. However, something horrible happened on 20th July, 2017. My friends who knew I love you guys, texted me about it. I did not accept it at first. How was that even possible? You were supposed to be here forever. I thought I had you forever. I was a mess, I am still a mess, and I will forever be a mess whenever I think about you. You were gone, you are gone. You’re never coming back. It hurts. It hurts so much that I cannot even breathe sometimes.
I remember watching you perform “Waiting for The End” at the Southside Festival in Germany. I don’t know what it was, but I felt it. Right in my heart. Your voice always touched my heart, but this performance was something else. Now, I cannot stop listening to that song and wondering what you were thinking while performing it.
It was always my dream to watch you perform live in India. But, we don’t always get what we want, right? Nothing hurts more than seeing you gone and knowing that I will never see you again.
Chester, you were my person. You were my secret place that nobody except for a few friends knew about. This is difficult, but I am letting you go as you are in a better place right now. I know that you are. This world, a dark place, never deserved you in the first place. I hope to see you on the other side, soon.
You left with a beautiful legacy behind. Your music taught me that the world is bigger than me and I am so, so, thankful to you for that. All that I know now, is that I am not stopping here. You’ve left me with a purpose, with a cause that I need to work on from now onward.
I love you, Chester. Rest in peace. I will miss you, forever. Thank you for being a part of my life, thank you.