Originally published at jeremyjarratt.com. You can comment here or there.
omfg where do i start?
preface: we are so poor. that is all about that. we are poor, and it sucks balls. Holly works so hard, and for what? what the hell do i do to make the world any better? not a god damned thing. especially not her world.
on to the viewing…
my old friend is dead. younger than me, dead and gone. i remember yesterday when we were all young and crazy with life and the ecstasy of the world being at our fingertips.
i got there, alone. i killed time rolling a smoke and killing it. i rolled a couple more and walked up. almost immediately some cat comes up for a light. he’s a friend of Jason’s. there is some small talk, then he reveals that there are internal social problems & factioning, a division going on. he calls it childish; “bizarre,” i reply.
after chatting with another of his more recent friends, i mustered up just barely enough guts to go inside. what awaited was hell.
so i go inside and i don’t see anyone i know. except for Susan and Mike, who passed by on their way in. i couldn’t tell if they were ignoring me or if they didn’t recognize me. that was sort of a theme of the evening. they have every reason to ignore me. when i was younger and stupider, i did stupid things and said foolish things to Susan, who i loved then, about Mike, who was actually a terrific guy, really. so there’s that.
i’m in line for about a half an hour, behind a small group of people who obviously bothered to keep up with him in his last years. suddenly i realize that the older gentleman standing idly by is Jason’s dad.
omg. it’s his dad, i thought. omg. is it better that he does or doesn’t recognize me?
see, we used to be really crazy teenagers. really crazy, just completely off the chain and full of joy and insanity. we used to bounce off the walls with energy. we also used to do some questionable stuff. nothing terrible, just not real virtuous behavior. all in good fun, we figured at the time. and it was.
but we got suspended from school once, toward the very ass-end of my senior year, which would have been Jason’s sophomore year, for showing up drunk at a school dance, with liquor and beer in my car to boot. crap. i got him in trouble. i hope they don’t remember that.
he looks at me and we chat, and he doesn’t seem to really remember me well. that’s kind of a big relief.
then the question i was dreading.
no, i said, even though i only live a half hour away, i didn’t really bother to go and see him, as he’s dying, because i just didn’t. because i don’t fucking know, right? i didn’t say it like that, but i certainly meant it like that.
i tried several times to gather a posse together. too many years had passed. i needed a buffer to fill up the empty space of time that had grown like kudzu between us. he and i talked on the phone a few years ago, and the net result of the conversation was, i felt at the time, that he was grown up and doing his thing, and though we were greatly cordial, there was a fairly vast chasm that had come up there in the middle. we weren’t those kids anymore. he didn’t need me in his life. we of course said “we should get together sometime,” and “give me a call anytime,” and neither of us really meant it. though i would have secretly loved to. but you know how it goes. it’s happened to everyone. two old friends, grown apart after too much time.
i loved him, though, and i never stopped loving him. it had just become awkward. that’s why i wanted help, someone to go with me to see him.
so i answered that question. no, i didn’t go to see your dying son in his last couple of years in life. fuck! i wanted to. desperately. i was too scared of that god damned void that had opened up its gaping maw between us to suck our friendship in. i pussied out.
finally, i see him up close.
no mortician on earth really ever makes a dead body look natural. not to me anyway. it’s always a horrific shock to see something that resembles someone you used to know very well lying before you like some kind of expired doppelganger. it was just too unreal. i knew it was him, he just didn’t look… real. that always happens.
the shock, the numbness of it all was overwhelming.
i go outside, roll a couple more smokes, pretend like i’m talking on my phone. anything to keep the questions at bay. thankfully, Travis shows up with his mom. i keep quiet and let them do all the talking. conversations get better that way.
Fred texts me that he can’t show up because he supposedly doesn’t have enough gas. me and Jason were pretty tight back in the day, but Fred and Jason were like peanut butter and jelly. completely inseperable. i am disappointed.
Kevin Holsinger shows up in a little while. the other day i practically cried at the thought of seeing that kooky lil’ kid again. we were never all that close, but i always liked him. you couldn’t not. and we always had terrific laughs together. he doesn’t seem to know who i am, and since it doesn’t really matter anyway, i let the matter be as it is.
later on, Travis and his mom and Kevin and his whole family go out to eat. i didn’t go, it was just too awkward for me. i had a bad day. plus, i needed to pick Holly up from a business meeting. it turned out she got a ride, a fact i knew at right about the same instant as everyone was driving away. not that it would have made a difference.
there was not one single moment of the day that i had any business being a part of. but i owe like hell.
it’s hard when it really sinks in how much you never really mattered in the end, when someone you loved so much and had so much fun with is dead and gone so many years after you last saw them.