And all I can think about is which song was playing when you took your last breath. I hope it was something that at least put a smile on your face. Why Do They Rock So Hard? was always your jam, at least when we were kids, but you and I haven’t really talked music in a while, not for at least a year now. That’s just one reason why I was so really looking forward to tomorrow. Yesterday. Sunday. The day after—Fuck. Subjective time loses meaning; time’s objective when you’re out of time, when you’ve reached your final objective.
Time. I’m told your roommate found you around 11:30pm. I don’t even know who you live with these days. I got the call at 2am and ignored it, I was sleeping. Your youngest sister found out on Facebook, where wall posts have become electronic flowers on your profile tombstone. She called your mom, but she was already outside talking to the cops. And I was still asleep.
I didn’t know what to expect on Sunday when you weren’t there. I met eyes with Fish across the room, and excused myself from the corner of awkward catch-up conversations and we hugged. It was a hello hug, how are you, but without either one of us saying a word, it was an are you okay hug, too. “Did—” he started. “Yeah,” I said. He told me that he called you last night. That night. Saturday night. Around 8pm, for a pint. Maybe Delaney’s. I wish I went there with you more often. We could have talked about the ever-changing draught list, ruminating about our life, theatre, art, sharing scripts over goblets of Delirium Tremens. Or Nocturnum, if the season fits. But I don’t live here anymore. And I guess, neither do you.
When I got to your house—when I arrived at your parents’ house—your brother was doing homework, a worksheet on The Scarlet Letter for Ms. Ligouri. We both had a crush on her when she studen-taught us 7 years ago, and judging by the worksheet, she’s still a lousy teacher. Still, I was surprised to find that Matt’s not 8 years old anymore, but time will do that to you. I was paralyzed standing in the doorway, but I finally turned towards your mom and she ran into my arms and held me closer than I ever thought she would (at this point, if you were here, you’d be half-expecting me to quip about her tits, even if I wasn’t going to, and you’d call me on it, shut me up before I had the chance).
It didn’t really hit me until I saw your father. He was in the bathroom when I arrived because he wouldn’t let us see him cry—typical Gary—but when I shook his hand, firm and string and manly like he taught us, he pulled me in for an embrace. A bear hug to hide the tears, as he thanked me for being your friend, and asked me to pass the message along to anyone else. To the guys. Please. Just, thank you. For just, for being his friend. For being your friend.
Rest in Peace, MVA
June 23, 1986 — October 3, 2009