If I’m being quite honest, I don’t care much for the whole e-mail process anymore. I know this is going to sound terribly hipster or whatever, but I think it’s already outdated as a means of communication. It only feels clunky and slow, kind of like the style real mail started feeling as soon as the internet was first becoming a thing.
So that is my peremptory excuse for what I am about to tell you. I just feel like I needed to get that justification out of the way. Because, as a friend, I really fucked up. Big time.
It must’ve been several months prior to yesterday that I had checked my inbox, so a lot of stuff had happened in that interval. My sister married a guy as super religious as she is and became pregnant with a newborn whom they might actually think is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. And one of my cats died, so that pretty much ruined my life for an entire month. Cats are a pretty big deal.
Also, one of my best lifelong friends, Charles, wound up committing suicide. I guess I shouldn’t say ” best ,” or “lifelong,” because we were those kinds of friends who bounced in and out of communication with each other over the years. But every time we would start talking again, “its like” no time at all had passed, and nothing had changed. Even after several years of stillnes, we could pick back up on inside jokes that were going on several years running.
I barely even acknowledged his mother’s voice when she called. She voiced hoarse, like she was losing her voice. And I’m not sure why, but she kept calling me “son.” I was hesitating at first, but I somehow brought myself to ask her the question that had been nagging me the whole time.
“How did he do it? ” I asked.
The line fell silent for what felt like hours, punctuated only by her raspy breathing.
” Why do you want to know something like that, son ?” she asked.” Did the policeman tell you to ask me that ?”
“What?” if she was any less hoarse, I would have thought she was joking.
” Did that detective Thurman put you up to get information out of me ?”
” Why would they need information out of you ?” I asked.” You said he took his own life, right ?”
” My … newborn …” she groaned, and fell to sobbing so loud I was almost tempted to hang up the phone.
There was another eternity of her simply screaming into the receiver like that. Suddenly the whole thing was starting to attain me feel a little sick. I was sad at first, and nearly even felt like crying myself. But the more she only cried into the phone, and the more I thought about the police thing, the more disturbed I felt.
So I only hung up. I apologized to her and aimed the phone call before she could say anything else. I don’t even know if she heard me or not. As the working day went on I started getting calls from some of the other guys in different groups. Word was spreading, and as it reached me, I started recognizing also that the nature of Charles’ death was in question. It looked like a suicide, but there was reason to suspect something else.
Still, the question was nagging at me. No one knew how. Apparently it was information that the authorities were keeping confidential.
So I made up my mind to take some vacation time from work and get a plane ticket back to Arizona. I felt like it was my duty or something to be there and help in any way I could. But I was still unsure of how to approach Charles’ mom after what happened on the phone.
Luckily, I never attained it that far. I had to sign up for a new account on a ticket website, because I’ve never done much flying. So it was right then that I needed to check my e-mail, for the first time in months in order to get the verification connect. And when I opened up my Inbox( with 2,030 new messages, largely spam) I assured Charles’ name three rows down, from a week ago. The subject line read 😛 TAGEND ” Luke, please read .”
I felt a shivering crawl down my spine. My best friend, which has recently committed suicide, had sent me an urgent e-mail only days before his death. I was almost too scared to open it. I had this remorse burning in me, like I had betrayed him or something. Even before I opened it, I persuaded myself that I could have helped him if I had just fucking checked my e-mail a little sooner.
After staring vacantly at the computer screen for an eternity, I opened the e-mail.
So he committed suicide shortly after that. The realization was like a knife in my chest. We used to always get into mysteries with each other when we were younger. If I was there, I would perfectly have gone with them. But then what?
Still, as the days wore on, I couldn’t stop preoccupying about something. I was rooting through my old Facebook photos, the ones with Charles in them. There are an integral part with all of us hanging out when we were very young, before Garett had died and Paul and Adam went missing. We were intact.
But for some reason I felt like I was abruptly considering a look upon Charles’ face that I had never seen before. His eyes seemed darker, almost sunken. Then I find a photo of just him, a candid one I had taken. I recollect exploding into his bathroom hoping to embarrassed him with a photo of him taking a shit, but I only determined him staring at himself in the mirror. On the counter I assured a small prescription bottle. I don’t know how I never caught that look on his face before, as he was staring at himself in the mirror. He looked so dark.
Suddenly I started wondering what kind of drug he was taking. Reluctantly, I took up the phone and called his mother again. It was awkward at first, but she feigned like nothing happened. I didn’t garbage any time getting to the point of asking her what kind of drug he used to take. I knew I was getting closer to the truth when she hung up on me without another word. She’s scared.
Then, several hours later, I got a bellow. It was Marcus, another old friend of ours whom I had spoken to shortly after I heard the news about Charles. He was drunk, like always.
“Hey man, I entirely forgot to tell you, ” he said, sounding out of breath. “Charles called me the night before he killed himself.”
“How the fucking did you forget to tell me that? ”
“Sorry bro, but I remembered that he asked me to tell you something. He said he didn’t have it in him to write another e-mail. He wanted me to tell you,’ I had another memory this morning. In that memory, I looked in the mirror. And I insured myself. I find my own face looking back at me.’”
I was speechless, frozen. I wanted to say something to him, but I couldn’t find the words.
“Oh, also, ” he continued, “he said he found Adam … isn’t that sick, human? What does that mean? ”
“Nothing, ” I said, instantly, recollecting how strange his mother had been with me on the phone. “It doesn’t entail a thing.”
Read more: thoughtcatalog.com