…go on about how much I hate myself because of the past nine days.
But, for some reason, I remembered something good I did this morning.
Something that nobody else did, or was likely to do in that moment, so of course I felt the need to do it. I don’t know; maybe I’m bigging myself up for doing something tiny just because I need some encouragement and reassurance that I’m not actually a garbage-bitch from the lowest circle of Hell… from myself for once. Maybe I’m full of shit. Anyway, I just want to tell you about it.
I met someone whose father recently died.
He had let me spend the night under his roof, because I was locked out of my house. I was by no means the only person crashing there, and this dude was by no means the reason why I was in this particular house, so whilst feeling somewhat peripherally confused and annoyed because I hadn’t slept in roughly two days, I was grateful all the same.
I woke to find that he and some others had briefly gone to get breakfast, and it was just me in the house with one of his good friends, who was quite sleep-deprived as well, but for more… uh… chemical reasons. I digress.
I wandered around the lounge room a little bit, because I’m a nosy bitch (read: budding journalist/plain curious, really) and I couldn’t help but cry. I couldn’t yet tell why, but this place was heavy with grief. You know how you can just walk into somewhere and feel that something isn’t okay? Not necessarily in a sinister or dangerous way though, just like something’s missing, despite massive and probably very heartbreaking efforts to carry on living in spite of it.
I saw a couple of pictures of a man, maybe in his fifties or sixties. He was wearing a band t-shirt maybe, but I couldn’t make out which artist(s)/design. The snapshot looked like it was a nice moment in a crowded room, maybe even outside after dark, but between only two people, one of whom had the camera. The man looked happy, but he also looked pained. He was smiling, but his eyes seemed so sad. From my various experiences in hospitals and hospices, I felt a familiar pang of sympathy for someone whose spirit is so alive that it will never completely die, but whose body was desperately and urgently failing him. He was happy for the moment, but had no illusions about the future. Big, beautiful, brown doe eyes, on a face that had seen and dealt with way too much pain.
I felt almost like I was desecrating a shrine, but I picked up this photograph, without even thinking. I held it with both shaking hands, and started weeping. Who is this person? Why do I get the feeling that this is his house? Sure, there’s signs of partying and stuff, but I almost felt like the man in the picture would only laugh knowingly and say something like, “Hey, all good, just clean up after yourselves, ya cheeky wee shits! Remember to separate the plastic and glass or they won’t take it away on Monday!”
I put the photo back and only just then noticed that it was leaning against a small medicine caddy. There were something like 12 -16 compartments? Anyway, the labels were numerous and diverse, and I wept more. I was right about the pain in this man’s eyes.
My phone was almost dead, so I’d turned it off to conserve power. My charger was AWOL with my house keys, because I’m retarded. Whatever. Anyway, looking for the time, noticed the wall clock. I wasn’t running late for anything in particular, but I’m always feeling like I am. Sighing a breath of relief at the time of day, I saw Hallmark cards on the table below the clock. “All right, wait,” I thought to myself, “something tells me this isn’t birthday stuff.”
Shit, dude. Oh, Mama God.
I’m in a strange place, metres away from someone knocking on the door, and I’m crying like a wounded bitch. Fuck. Right. Okay. Fix up your face, woman, and go see what’s going on here.
A District Nurse, assigned for weekly home-help duties, asking for Brownie. I tell her I don’t know Brownie, because it’s the truth. I go inside and ask the homeowner’s friend, “I hate to wake you, but… who’s Brownie and where is he? You should fucking know! Tell me! There’s a health worker looking for him!”
“Nuh, he’s all good! Brownie’s all good, tell her to go get fucked!”
Ugh… right then… what a cunt… anyway…
The DN at the door heard all of this, I’m certain. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but I know I apologised a lot, without being specific. Just saying sorry, profusely, all in vain. She said, “Oh god, you don’t even know who he is, do you? Poor thing, don’t worry. I’ll make some calls, you just tell someone to let him know I came. It’s been about three weeks now, this is not good. I’ll be back next week at the same time, so don’t cry. We’ll figure it out. Thank you for trying. You’re a good kid.”
I shut the door and my heart hit the floor.
What the actual fuck? I slumped back down on the lounge room settee and looked at the clock, the sympathy cards, and then the photo. Shit. Of course. I’m in Brownie’s house, and he’s gone. Not just gone, but gone. The only reason a patient wouldn’t be at the address that a DN was sent to to help them at… well, it starts with ‘D’ and rhymes with “breath”. Fuck, I just cried like it was the only thing I was born to do. Open-mouthed toddler-tantrum stuff.
Fuck that sleepy asshole in the other room, no fucking help at all. That fucking useless cunt. All fucking good? My fucking ass. Fucking piece of shit. If I was fucking dead, I wouldn’t want some fucking messy bitch desecrating my memory by being at my fucking house and answering the fucking door and not fucking knowing who I am, misinformed by some fucking hungover dickweed who should have known more and cared more. Fuck. Fucking Hell. Seriously, fuck.
I’m not sure how long I sat, but I was startled halfway out my mind when the breakfast-havers burst back into the place. As abrupt as their re-entry was, it was welcome, because I hate crying in front of people and it was far beyond time for me to stop wailing like a child just because I’m all confused & shit.
There was a bit of useless banter and other stuff that I ignored or otherwise forgot about, because my brain does that shit sometimes when I’m not too interested in what’s happening around me, but after a while, I remembered we were all around the table in the dining area attached to the lounge, and I mentioned the DN visit. I had to ask after Brownie.
The homeowner spoke up and said yes, that’s my dad. Well, was my dad. He’s been dead for over three weeks now and they still send people over like that? Fuck’s sake, fuck off. They work in the hospital and don’t know he’s dead. What the fuck are them cunts up to?
Then, some more stuff I blocked out. When others feel awkward silences, I’m in my own head, I’m elsewhere. Blah, blah. Stuff & things. Until I feel like snapping out of it, whenever that is.
“Fuck it, I’m just gonna say it. I’m so sorry about your dad. I’ve not lost a parent yet so I don’t know the full extent of what you’re going through, but I know that I’ll probably be a total two-year-old when it happens to me. I’m so sorry I didn’t know what to say to the lady. I’m sorry if I made you and your family look bad. That’s just.. it’s just… so shit. Shit. I’m so sorry. It was just weeks ago… fuck, it’s just…”
“Hey, all good, man. Thanks, though. You know, it was weird though. He was ready for a good night, he was only one drink in. We wheeled him out to his spot and he fixed up to chill and he just… sneezed. We were sitting round all together out back and he sneezed and that was it. He nearly hung out alone that night but we got him to come out and we were so glad to see him. Fuck it was awesome because nobody had seen him in ages because he was so sick but he made it out, aye. Fuck, I would’ve just fucking lost it if I found him after he passed away alone or some shit like that. But he was here with us and all the bros, and he just tensed up, then he let go, and he was away. It was quick, thank fuck it was quick. If he was alone and suffering for hours, fuck… but he was with us. He had such a shit time near the end so now he’s not feeling like shit all the time anymore and we saw him out.”
It was clear that it was the first time a couple of his best friends were hearing this, and I fought with all my sleepy might not to start crying again. I can’t believe I succeeded.
Mama God, take care of Brownie. I don’t know fuck all about him apart from the fact that he raised someone who was good enough to not let me sleep outside out of my own forgetfulness and fake pride and stupidity. His son gave me the first genuine human interaction that hit home like that for me since I don’t know when, regardless of how casual it may have seemed. I was prepared to die by my own hand days ago. Now I know better.
Mama, stay with Brownie now that his pain is gone. Help him wait for his boy, who is really a man, who I know misses him so much already. Tell him that we talked about his last moments, we listened to each other and that this young man and his mates are just that little closer now, I hope, for all the time they’ve known each other, because, sadly, time runs out sometimes.