It is November 30th, 2013. When I wake up this afternoon, I don’t know that I’ll never see you again.
I’ll go to game and wonder why you aren’t there. I’ll tell myself you aren’t feeling well again, because recently, that’s happened a lot. Ileana will make excuses for Cal, as other’s ask where you are, can they have a scene with you, and I’ll be sad you’re missing the cool stories we are telling.
I’ll ask Alaina if she’s heard from you, but she hasn’t. Then I’ll get distracted and forget.
At 3:00 am, on December 1st, I’ll make my final rounds of the club, checking for lost and found, turning off lights and making sure the money’s been collected up. Then, with my keys in my hand, I’ll hear my phone ring.
It will be Alaina and she will be in tears. She’ll be worried, nearly hysterical with it, sick with it, so I will turn the key and run through the rain to her car where she will tell me that she knows you are dead. And I will listen to her and try to lie to her. I will tell her you are not dead. You’re just being mad, being dramatic, not answering her phone calls because you are angry again and trying to punish her, I will think this, but I will not believe it.
I will stay calm, though. I will help her find a plan: to wait until the morning and call your mother. After all, maybe you’re in the hospital or … something. The lies don’t even sound convincing to me.
I’ll go home, and I’ll go to sleep with my phone beside my pillow, the volume turned up to max so that when Alaina calls, I will wake up.
And she will. She will call me that Sunday morning. She will tell me she has talked to your mother. That you are dead. You have killed yourself. I will hear the tears in her voice, even as she tries to keep control. She will tell me she needs to go, to call other people and let them know. I will tell her I’m on my way.
Then I will lie in bed, the phone in my hand, staring at the empty ceiling while the reality of what I have just heard sinks in. I will be in shock. I will not feel it at first because it is simply too big. Then, I will get up and tell Carla, call my mother, walk in and out of the kitchen and bedroom aimlessly, looking for something I can’t name.
I will get dressed, but I will not remember it, and I will drive to Alaina’s house. On the way, I will call my boss and tell him I am not coming to work. He will ask me to come late, and I will tell him no.
I will arrive at the house and walk in. The morning air of December will be cold, but I will not notice. The house will slowly fill up with all of us who are lost that morning. And we will cry. We will laugh. We will be angry. We will be sad. We will talk about you. We will talk about death. We will try to make it make sense. To make it be ok. We will drink and we will eat and we will remember that we are alive and you are not.
Alaina will tell everyone that your death was an accident, a practiced suicide gone wrong. I will think differently, but I won’t say it to her. I know how much you wanted out.
Over the coming days, we will process your death. Alaina and I will go to your house, see the place where your mother found your body, look through your things and tell stories of each item of memory, and take a few small things away to hold on to a piece of you, things your parents don’t need for themselves. I will leave your red tentacle neck-tie behind for your father’s collection.
Alaina will think you died angry at her, that this is her fault. Your mother will tell her you were wearing her necklace when they found you, and I will tell her that you thought of her at the last.
There will be a wake. Everyone will come, except your ex-wife. Alaina and I will go to the theater to kill time before it starts. We’ll watch the second Hunger Games movie – the scenes of mourning and loss, Mr. Malton clutched in her arms as we cry into each other’s coats.
At the wake, people who have been enemies for years will talk, bonding over this loss. I will listen to dozens of people talk about your light, your positivity, your ability to make others happy and I will wonder if they knew you at all towards the end.
Alaina will feel guilty for being relieved that you can’t yell at her anymore. I will feel angry at you for hurting her. Again.
I will hear about a world-wide suicide candlelight vigil while I’m at work and panic that I have no candles in the office. Ben will buy me a candle: Jelly Belly in a little glass jar from the grocery store.
There will be no Christmas that December, no one wants to celebrate. We will instead sing songs of loss at karaoke. Cefyn and I will write a story for you, for Cal.
For a week or two everyone will be sad. Everyone will understand. But then, most will move on while Alaina and I and Nick stay behind in grief. I will not watch Doctor Who for more than eight months, and when I do, I will cry.
I will dream about you. They will be difficult dreams.
I will stop talking about you in public, and I will learn to hate the question, “Are you ok?”
I will start a painting of you.
I will get a tattoo.
I will learn to push it away, so no one can see I’m still sad. And sometimes Alaina and I will talk alone about you. Sometimes, I’ll see something, or hear a joke, something you’d like, and I miss you again. Sometimes I’ll imagine how angry you’d be about a new rule or game or movie, and then I won’t miss you as much.
It’s November 30th, 2014 and you’ve been dead for one year.
I’ve moved to Saudi Arabia. Chris ended our friendship, but Alaina and I have become closer. Nick has been a surprising source of support. I stopped going to game after we finished Cal’s story, I just couldn’t get into it without you. I watched the new Doctor Who after all, but I could hear your voice beside me so it was ok. I’m terrified to lose Clara because she’s the last piece of the Doctor we watched together.
For the last month, I couldn’t see a funeral on tv without tears. Alaina told me she watched the Hunger Games 3 and cried for an hour afterward.
I haven’t finished your painting.
I had a dream once where you told me you finally had everything you wanted, all the magic and fantasy, a real life free of pain and free from your irrational bursts of anger, but I can’t use it for anything because its just another story.
So I will cry. I will laugh. I will be angry. I will be sad. I will talk about you, and talk about death. I will try to accept that it does not make sense, and it will never be ok, but because I am alive and you are not, I cannot stop.