My husband’s friend killed himself Friday night.
He went into our office, found a gun and shot himself in the yard.
We were over at the house on the beach and got this weird call…weird as in “I think Brent is dead over here.” How can you think someone is dead?
How can something so final and horrible be an “I think” moment? How can someone make a call like that when you are sitting on the patio eating toast and watching the boats sail by?
Nothing we could do, so we stayed there, whacked out, wracked by our own personal demons. We had just seen him on Thursday and HE WAS FINE.
Fine. Fucked. Insecure. Neurotic. Emotional.
Obviously, he was fine.
Mike blamed himself, all afternoon and into the night and all this week Needless to say, we spent the week up all night, wondering what we could have done/seen/said and then working all day. We are still a little zombie like. Okay, I’m a mad zombie.
It is a terrible thing to lose a friend; to not see it coming when you see someone day in and day out. All the guys on the crew are hurting as well and the sad thing is the I can get mad and they keep it all bottled up inside.
In hindsight, I can see all of the little (well, little to me) things that just piled up on Brent.
The poetry slams didn’t take off
The Angry Poet business didn’t take wing.
The crazy former girlfriend who managed to show up everywhere, shrieking like a banshee.
His abstract painting, while slowly taking off, wasn’t zooming to the top like all his asshole art buddies were telling him it should.
Sort of hard to hear how fantastic, insightful, incredibly talented you are and still not able to make a living at your art. LIKE WHO DOES? But that was part of his illness which caused him to stick a gun to his head at 1 am and pull the trigger.
I can’t tell you how many thousands of hours Brent spent over our kitchen table, while I made pasta with whatever I had in the garden and whatever I had butchered lately.
Great meals , listening to opera way into the night.
We spent wonderful weekends over in Morro Bay–Brent would stay on our boat with his dogs and we’d stay at out house and he would sketch and think and amble over for dinner. Mike would work on his stained glass. We’d sit out on the patio and watch the tide go out. It doesn’t sound like much, written down, but it was just normal for us. Good food. Good friends. Nothing earthshaking.
I’d knit, we’d drink gallons of coffee and then there was always that back beat of male conversation in the background. Dogs in my lap. Feet up on a chair and quilts over our shoulders.
Mike and Brent were unique in that Mike was his sponsor, employer, patron and friend. He often said that the surest way to run a person off was to become their sponsor but this wasn’t the case with Brent–it just made us all closer, until the end.
They talked, not about family or childhood, but about addiction and overcoming their present demons. I have plenty of experience of jumping on the sole crazy train myself, where a permanent solution sounds like the perfect solution to a temporary problem and it seemed as though they were able to hash it out every time.
And there were plenty of times–not just on the weekends, but during the week and in the middle of the night. That crazy button is no respector of the clock. Thank God for coffee and insomnia. Somebody is always awake over here, so it was never an imposition or even a surprise to find Brent sitting on the front porch. Tank would barrel down the stairs and keep him company or just alert us that we needed to pour another cup and open the door.
This whole week was hideous.
We talked with the girlfriend. Waited for family. Talked with the sheriff’s department. Got called a motherfucker by tg….and where that came from, I’m not sure. She got to stay in the house, heck, almost a month’s rent and utility on my nickle and I’M the motherfucker?
This whole thing MAKES ME FURIOUS.
I feel terrible for all for the people who are left behind in the wake of this, but by hell, I’m left behind, too.
And I have all the crap to clean up. I get to clean up the blood and the brains and all the junk that no one deemed valuable enough to cart off and said “Somebody will take care of the crap”.
(Or most likely, in the words of tg, “Brent said you and Mike would take care of meeeeeeee.”)
By this time, tg is not on my list of favorite people.
Well ALL is a LOT to dump on a person’s lap, with a snotty father on the other end of the phone line, threatening litigation. And these are the self-same people who had the keys for a week, not me.
Obviously, tgd doesn’t know me, since all the lawyers east of the Mississippi don’t scare me. All of Oprah’s lawyer’s don’t scare me. But, like I said, obviously, he doesn’t know me. tg must have spent a lifetime hiding behind someone, if she thinks calling me a motherfucker would make me spring to her bidding.
And I don’t like it much. At all in fact.
Treat me like crap-fine. I’m used to it. I work in a prison and I get this all day long. It’s not personal. Selfish, sure. Self-involved, absolutely. Personal? Not at all. I am simply in the way. (In the way when it suits your fancy. Which is just a fancy way of saying you are a selfish and self involved to the extreme.
Treat Mike like crap? Call HIM a Mother Fucker?
You have another think coming, and coming fast.
And that cleanup somebody is ME-body. And I don’t much like being in the loop when you like it and being ordered around when it suits your fancy.
And no one is coming over and saying poor poor Chloe. Poor, poor Mike.
Nope, It’s Motherfucker, as usual.
And if I’m not writing poetry to stick on the end of my post, it’s because I’m on my hands and knees. scrubbing the newly vacated rental so I can recoup my losses because utilities aren’t free.
Studio rent isn’t free.
I paid for all of this because Brent was my friend and Mike’s friend and you can’t put a price on friendship but gosh, it sure would be nice if someone noticed. If someone said, hey, this was my dad/brother/boyfriend, let me pay. By now thank you is too late.
Nope. I spend hundreds of hours in the belly of the beast with the worst kinds of people you can IMAGINE–people who are so awful that they make Charles Manson look like your favorite baby sitter— and I’m glad to spend it on Brent…I just don’t want to spend it on deliberate destruction by some 9-month girlfriend.
Why, yes I am a bitch.
Scrubbing up after other people who leave in the night without a thank you will do that to a person.
Going over in the middle of the night and shoveling gravel over the blood and the brains so my husband doesn’t have to see it?
Taking care of the million and one details of a tragedy?
That will do it to a person.
Wind me up and I’ll do the right thing because that is the way I’m wired.
My job is protect my husband who doesn’t deserve to be treated like crap with a wallet.
What’s that you say? Doesn’t seem right? A little one sided?
Oh, maybe you want to read their side of it? Go right ahead.
Because I’m the one up in the middle of the night with Mike. From the first. Not tg. Mike. And tonight? It’s Mike. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And tg? She has to look at herself and I guess that is the dish served best cold.
And really, I don’t care about anyone else.
And if that seems harsh, well, suicide is a pretty harsh piece of reality. Who would know better than me?
It’s not my first and it won’t be my last because in my heart, I keep believing that ten years and the self-respect we shared is worth it.
Brent, we had you for ten wonderful years. years that I think you wouldn’t have had and you were an honorable man and a wonderful friend to Mike. We may never get over you…and I say that in a good way. Good friends are a rarity and you should leave a hole in our hearts.
And you have. Tank misses you, too. I know I do.
Fair sailing, my friend. Smooth waters.