Today I was at a TGIF after work, and I ran into a guy who worked for a company up in the East, who knew a guy who was a really good friend of mine from college. I asked him about my friend, C, as I haven't heard from him for more than 2 years.
"He killed himself."
I felt my skull exploding in a millisecond, and my expression froze in an awkward silence. The guy standing next to me stared at me, trying to save me with a distracting, innocuous remark.
"How did this happen?"
"Well, he shot himself. I guess he's been depressed for a long time."
The topic skidded away, as they started trading gossip about their respective bosses, while I stood there, frozen in agony and stunned, with racing thoughts bubbling, penetrating my body in a visceral, nauseating way, so paralytic that I could barely talk to anyone else at this pleasant, welcoming little event.
I raced home and researched ceaselessly over the Internet concerning his death, and there was very little. No obituary. No newspaper prints. I couldn't find his E-mail even. Maybe it was just a rumor. I had some glimmer of hope that maybe it's all just heresy. I decided to find his boss's E-mail and sent him a little message to express my condolence. Perhaps I'd be able to get his wife's phone number and talk to her--I went to their house once in college for thanksgiving, and remember fondly of that wonderful lunch-dinner that was so diametrically different from my own family's eggshell scattered annual ritual.
The boss was on vacation. Then 5 minutes later he sent me an E-mail saying what a terrible loss it was, and the memorial service was already over with lots of tears and good humor. He attached a nice little company-wide message neatly summarizing his "devotion" to his wife and his "love" to his 3 year old son.
I felt unspeakably angry. I wanted to yell, you don't know what the fuck you are talking about. Last time I talked to C was in 2010, and over the phone he told me "the only thing that annoyed me more than my wife is my son." He spent ten, twelve hours with you and you don't really know him. Nobody knows him. And now he's dead. He shot himself IN THE BLOODY HEAD and I didn't even know you can get a gun up there that easily. Why did nobody have a fucking clue?
I am so angry. I am angry at him. I am angry at his boss. I am angry at his wife and "friends", if he had any to speak of. I am most angry at myself. Why did I only try his gmail a year ago? Maybe he would've checked his old school E-mail. Maybe he would've forwarded it to his new company E-mail. Maybe he would've called me before he died had I been able to stay in touch with him. Maybe I could've done something more.
He was a few years older. We smoked my first joint together. We complained about the inanity of our respective love affairs together. We were supposed to laugh in our intoxication into our old age together.
He once told me, I don't meditate, I masturbate, and that was wisest thing I've heard in my life. Does he have a gravestone somewhere? C, If you can see this, know that we have unfinished conversations, and I'm looking forward to having them with you in hell.