It was like I’d been erased from his life. It was like a lot of us had been erased from his life. The slide show only showed the last five years or so of his existence, as if the thirty-five or so up until then didn’t matter.
[Here was a lot of toxic weather I have removed from this entry. It doesn’t matter anyways. Disco Queer took the fuck over.]
I saw some people I hadn’t seen in nearly ten years. They looked almost exactly the same, which is hard to believe, considering how hard some of them have been living. Blood of virgins or something. They told ol’ Seer she looked good, too, but who knows if that’s true. I think I look my age. Thirty-three.
I didn’t expect to get the racking sobs, but I did a few times. I got real angry, too. It must be nice to go to a memorial service and not be emotionally involved. It must be nice to go and small talk and show someone your new phone and that kind of bullshit.
Only two people told the truth during the sharing portion. One who said that my friend–our friend– had had a hard time believing in god. Yes, yes he did. He would have cringed at the prayer in Jesus Christ’s name. I didn’t say it. My friend who came with me didn’t pray with us at all. (The person who shared right after he did insisted that my friend took god into his heart while he was unconscious in the hospital. I insist this is bullshit.) The other truth-teller had his sunglasses on the whole time. I suspect he was high. He said my friend would never have gone for the solemnity and would have said something snide to make us all laugh. And it was true: born again church? Not his style. Everyone crying? He wouldn’t have dug it.
What he would have gone for was the obscene punk rock music. They played his band’s music in the church. So instead of organs, we heard lyrics like, “Make you my angel with dirty wings.” I used to love that song. He would have approved of that.
After the service I went to my mother’s house and got some old pictures. Glad my mother wasn’t there. I got to see us all young and dumb again. Touching my tongue to an electrified fly swatter. Someone else lighting a mouthful of lighter fluid on fire. Sticking pens up our noses. Yes, our twenties–these were our mid- (and in some cases late-) twenties!–were a dumb, dumb time. Lots of cards and bones (“six-four, never domino.” It rhymes if you say it right). Cat-calling when the Bingo Palace caller pulled “O-69.” Cheap coffee and lots of cigarettes. And my point and shoot camera caught a good deal of it. This was before Facebook or twitter or any of that, so the inanity had better fit in 36 frames, and then you had to wait for ten days to get it back, hopefully in double prints, with none of them wasted on blurry nothingness. Kids today don’t know how it was back then. Better today, but oh, the excitement of that fat envelope, what was in there, did you remember even? What could it be? Such potential in that envelope. Potential from the past. Message in a bottle from you.
Here’s a picture of a dumb thing we did. We were in the supermarket one night and found a watermelon someone had killed and left for dead. We couldn’t get over how fucking ridiculous this was. So three of us (me, my dead friend, and the one who went to the memorial with me, The Shadow Fairy) went home for the camera (this was before phones had them) and came back to document the evidence. We couldn’t let it go unrecorded. Yes, in those days, dumbness took way more effort. As a result, you remembered dumb things for-fucking-ever. (The picture is bent because it’s a picture of a picture; I don’t have my scanner set up yet. I consider it a tribute to dumbness.)
But it wasn’t like those were our training wheels. We were really alive then, too. It’s not like those years didn’t count because some people didn’t want them to. Those were an important chapter in our development as human beings, and I will never forget them. He was a good man because of those years, not despite them. Rest in peace, man. Rest in peace.