We gathered there, improbably, given the circumstances, at a nearby bar, all of us together once again. Gone were the Metallica and Megadeth tee-shirts, the sparkly headbands left at home, retired for the night.

This night.

They’d been replaced by somber suits and dress clothes, I tottered on impossibly high heels as we sat there together again, all of us together again, coming from various parts of the state to be together this time, drinking whiskey and vodka to drown the voices in our heads.

I remembered drunkenly as we ordered our first round, that the last time we’d all been together and dressed up was for my wedding three years before. As the happy memory of that played in my mind I was haltingly reminded that one of us was not sitting a block away, cold, hard and dead back then. She was alive and vibrant, laughing and joking with us all.

Suddenly, I didn’t want to remember anything.

To onlookers, we must have looked like quite the jovial bunch of people, obviously close friends who knew each other so well, the comfortable familiarity was palpable. I alternated between snuggling the man on my right and the man on the left, neither of them my husband.

We laughed loudly and comfortably at each other with each other our mouths wide open, the picture of pure bliss. But was it? Was this bliss? To nearby patrons, I’m sure that’s what they saw as they formed mental pictures of this motley band of brothers'”a sister or two thrown in for good measure'”these people out for a night on the town, drinking to life, to liberty, to the pursuit of happyness.

Not one of us was happy, I’ll tell you that for sure. Not a single one of us was happy to be there, to be together for this night. Happy people don’t have these conversations.

“When I die,” I slurred drunkenly. “I don’t want any shitty fucking flowers at my funeral. I’m appointing you there Kristin, to make damn sure that no one sends me fucking filler flowers. No carnations, no baby’s breath, and no goddamned fucking lilies. I fucking hate lilies.” I spat this out as though the words tasted bitter and mean.

I sat back, everyone laughing without a trace of happiness, as I slurped the last bit of whiskey from the bottom of my glass.

“And NO OPEN CASKETS. You all don’t need to see what I look like when I’m dead and made up in clown makeup. So, you’ve got to make me up like Gene Simmons from KISS. You’ll have to somehow pin my tongue out like he does. Then any sick fuck that wants to see my corpse will get quite the shock.’ This seemed to be uproariously hilarious, as we all pounded the table, laughing but not really laughing.

Scott started next. “When I die,” he said joyfully without joy. “When I die, I want you all to stuff me like the guy from Weekend At Bernie’s.” We laughed from within, all of us mentally picturing Scottie in a lawn chair, being rolled in and out of rooms. “And I want a big bonfire and a kegger.” We tittered, remembering all of the bonfires Scott had thrown in his parent’s backyard. “Then, at the end of the night, I want you to throw me on the bonfire.”

We laughed so hard at the thought that we were all left clutching our sides, a painful cramp had formed there.

We drank long and we drank hard, each of us processing the magnitude of what had just happened together but in our own way. I was left clutching a man, walking drunkenly back to his car with him propping me up and helping me past the slick patches of ice. He would have carried me if I needed him to, I knew this and found this an unlikely comfort.

It was cold, freezing cold, I knew logically, but I felt nothing. For the first time in a week I was comfortably numb. It was only then that I realized how much I’d been hurting, the relief I felt at blissfully unfeeling anything at all.

Tomorrow I would wake up and feel it all over again, the pain, the anguish, the incredible hangover, but tonight I was finally free.

Comments

comments

36 thoughts on “Everywhere I Look I See Your Eyes

  1. It’s funny, but I often think of Steph, I can see her in heaven. Very often when a few, old songs come up on my ipod.

    Sending hugs and love Beck, remember, you are not alone.

  2. If we don’t get on that memory book soon, we are never going to do it. Scott’s in. Any chance you can leave the kiddos with the Daver for a night and come down to Chicago to work on it? Scott and I are making plans for it soon. It’s kind of unacceptable that we have not done it yet.

    PS. I’m pretty sure Scott was dead serious (no pun intended) about the bonfire thing. He is totes the only person who would actually want to go out like that.

  3. I can’t pretend to know how it feels. I have never lost a friend that close. But I am so sorry for your loss. I know the pain never goes away, but will fade some with time. I know that my mother said the funerals for young people are 1000 times harder than the ones for the elderly. I am thinking of you.

  4. Truly. One of your best posts. There’s just so much sad, isn’t there? Hugs to you, my friend, and thinking of you always.

  5. I am so sorry for your pain and for your loss. Death is a surreal experience. Before I graduated from high school, I attended the funerals of four friends. A staggering number for an 18 year old. It was so astonishing that my school brought in counselers for our class to help us cope.

    Imagining you and your friends at that bar reminded me of how we coped during that time. I believe the human mind can not grasp the concept of death, and only with large amounts of alcohol and time, will the pain become manageable. So sad that your friend left this world at such a young age.

  6. I think Steph would love this, Becks.

    On a side note, caskets are creepy, and funeral home officiants are the WORST. I always imagine they are the people who got kicked out of preacher school the second week and are now relegated to being the Mall Cops of the funeral world.

  7. That’s what I want…………..friends getting drunk in a bar after my funeral.

    Just a slurred testimony that I was…………………….

    and I was loved………………

    Beautiful.

  8. it is so so SO weird and strange for me, growing up. these are the things the adults knew that i didn’t when i was a kid, thinking i was all *not a kid* and shit. i don’t even want to know what else i don’t know about.

  9. I’ve killed more than a few bottles remembering friends…thinking of you and Steph. In KISS make-up of course.
    xxoo

  10. Aw fuck man. My heart hurts for you.
    And when I die, I want no flowers at all – if you need to send a condolence gift, it better be booze.

  11. I’m so sorry, Becky. It seems like after all that’s happened in the last few months, you deserve a while of pure happiness. I wish I could give it to you. It sounds like she was an amazing person who left a real hole in the world. I’m so very sorry she’s gone.

  12. Yeah, I’ve lived that night many, many times over with the survivors. It’s really the only way to deal as far as I’m concerned, and you got it just right. That’s why I love you, girl!

    Oh, I’m with Scott 100 %, and I’m not even drunk!!!

  13. Becky, where the hell WAS I in February? What THE.FUCK?? I just read all the other linked posts about this because seriously, I don’t even fucking remember this happening. Sure, February was a dark ass month for me but how can I even say that considering what you experienced. I am so sorry to hear of this. So so sorry.

  14. When I die, I want to be celebrated, not mourned. I don’t know what they’ll be celebrating though since I’ve never really done anything worth celebrating, but hopefully they have good imaginations.

    Sorry for your loss Bex. But the liquor does help ease the pain in the meantime.

  15. Thinking of you Becky, as you continue to remember.

    Your post struck a personal chord with me (in reference to funeral arrangements), because my family owns a funeral home and so I’ve grown up with everything that goes along with that. One thing that has always stuck me is that the body is prepared and put out for viewing, and everyone parades past, saying, “Oh, he looks so good.” Always, people are always saying how ‘good’ the dead person looks. As in, the make-up job and the hairdo are good. For Christ’s sake, these people look motherfucking DEAD, they don’t look good. When I die, I don’t want people looking at me, saying I look good. I want people to say “Boy, she looks like shit.” This is unlikely to happen, thus my requests for closed casket and cremation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *