There’s another drink at the end of the bar. I don’t want to say that…fuck, I don’t want to have to say that.
But I do: I have to put another drink on the bar. Another drink to join all those I’ve set to toast the souls to whom I’ve had to say good-bye.
I came up here to rediscover life, not to lose one of those friends who helped me do so.
I didn’t know Gerard for long, but I did come to trust and admire him like I do few people in this world. He was, in every single sense of the word, a gentleman. He was, with no exaggeration, one of the best people I’ve ever met.
He was a hell of a lot better of a man than me.
Yet, here I sit, still alive, still drinking whiskey and still mourning the dead.
I’m sick of mourning the dead. I’m sick of being the last man standing while my betters are cut short.
Yeah, yeah, I know: it’s all grist for the mill. It’s all emotion and passion and experience that can go into the words. No one knows that better than I: I would never – could never – have imagined and created Connor and Oz without having lost far too many close friends to suicide.
Yes, loss and grief, just like pain and anger, are what we writers live on. But, you know what?
If this is the price I have to pay, I’d rather go back to losing my soul in a goddamned cubicle.
What makes all this worse? Gerard’s wife is just as good a friend, and just as admirable. I love that woman…shit, I used to joke to my friend about just how much I envied him his soul-mate and how I was going to steal her.
Now she’s shattered and broken.
I’ve been shattered and broken…hell, I’m not sure I’m still all that far from shattered and broken. But to watch Jacqueline fall into that hell, to watch her lose the center of her world…
I spent today holding it together because I had to: the business was open, and someone had to keep it going. I had to announce to the staff, several times, the death of a man that most considered their second grandfather. I had to announce, several times, the loss that tore at all of our souls. Then I had to carry on. We all had to carry on…even when all I wanted to do was go out and get drunk and raise a toast to my friend.
I had originally intended this post to be such a toast, but the words….for the first time, the words are failing me.
I could put together a thousand-word post and not come close to doing justice to my friend.
I could spend every ounce of my remaining strength (which ain’t all that much, right now), and not touch on everything I should say.
I could do a lot of things…
But, for now, I’m going to think. I’m going to mourn. I’m going to cry. And I’m going to get very, very drunk staring at yet another drink at the end of the bar.