The Reddest Beard – Podcast

The Reddest Beard – Stories

The Lost Friend

My friend died this week.  Well, I guess that’s a bit of a loaded statement. Making it implies so much that was but isn’t anymore. A man died, at his own hand, this week. He was at one time a friend. But that friendship died a long time ago, and finally now, the man with […]

My friend died this week. 

Well, I guess that’s a bit of a loaded statement. Making it implies so much that was but isn’t anymore. A man died, at his own hand, this week. He was at one time a friend. But that friendship died a long time ago, and finally now, the man with it. I read his obituary and was smacked across the cheek by the lies spread there about my one time life-mate. They told the story of a sick young man, full of life and vigor, loved and revered by all. It was half the story. They disrespect the bastard that he was, and I shall now attempt to set the record straight. I know he would have done the same for me. 

He was as selfish and self-seeking as any man I’ve ever known. I guess that’s why I liked him. We had innumerable good times, fun, and laughs. We bonded quickly and fiercely. We sat and ranted in medically induced mania to each other in empty parking lots at 3 am. We held AA meetings hostage with our sharing and rhetoric almost nightly. He passed some of the toughest times of my life with me. We had it all. 

I whisked him across the world and I introduced him to my friends, to my life on the other side. I tried to integrate my adopted brother into my newfound family. I took him to his first prostitute and got him hooked on sex workers. I tried to seduce him with a whirlwind experience of life abroad. I showed him everything, and offered to bring him with me into it. He coveted what I had, but didn’t want to do what was necessary to get it. For that, I can’t even blame him. But what I can blame him for, I will. 

He was smart, and passionate. But his intelligence worked against him and his passions ran him into the ground. I’m told by his obituary that he was a man that loved music and writing. These things I knew to be true. In all honesty, though, I thought his taste in music was shit and that his writing was too often a mania-riddled pile of words, spilled haphazardly upon a page. He needed time, structure, and thought in his writing. But passion? Yes…he did have that, more than most other people I’ll ever know. 

He was a drunk and a junkie, same as me. We had many conversations about how he thought that the best writers and bards should be. I agreed that many were but we differed on whether or not it was a prerequisite. His writing ran toward his taste in music; he loved to idolize writers and poets that idolized addiction and their struggles with it. I thought it a bit redundant and pedantic to praise the things that kill us, and often encouraged him to move beyond writing characters that were shadows of the worst parts of himself. In the end the shadows caught him. 

He, like me, had a streak of a womanizer in him. He hated that for a time he would sleep with anyone that would look at him, just as long as it would fuel his ego and reinforce his assumptions about himself that he was cute and his good looks were boyish and charming. He cheated, sometimes flagrantly, on the women that cared about him, while promising them undying love and unwavering devotion. In his mind, love and sex were entirely separate things and they didn’t need to get in each other’s way. He was intolerably arrogant when it came to his love life, most of the time, and insufferably self-hating the rest of it. He was just like me. 

He lied, frequently and with ease. In the end, that’s what got between us. He came clean in a mental ward to me about all the things he’d lied to me about to gain favor in my eyes and build camaraderie between us. He vomited the truth across the walls and my shirt. He plastered his defects to the dampness they left behind, and at the end thanked me for being the victim of first his misdeeds and second, his confession. In the end I’m sure that he lied to himself when he told himself that he had to die by his own hand at that particular time. 

He committed one final act of malice toward his loved ones this week. He died alone by his own hand and left his infatuated young girlfriend to find him, his family to pick up the pieces, and his friends to mourn the loss of whatever hope that there may have been at reconciliation. He was a selfish, arrogant, c*nt. (We would always say that we used that word in the cheeky, Australian way, and not the vulgar American one.)

He was the estranged younger brother that I never had, the selfish prick of a man that I pushed away, a mirror of myself and my own insecurities.  He loved me fiercely in his own sick way. In the final hours of our relations, when I told him to fuck off, go away, lose my number, and fall into a hole- his only replies were that he understood, but still loved me and missed me. I’m sure that he believed it. I’m sure he knew I wanted to. I’m absolutely positive, however, that he was trying to manipulate me and that we both knew that it wasn’t going to work.

When I left he knew why, and while he hated himself for it, he couldn’t help but try his own last attempts at manipulation and treachery. He was dead to me then, and simply dead, now. 

I miss him, dearly, every moment of every day. 

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Welcome to the very first public episode of the Reddest Beard Podcast. Why would sharing your story, my story, and random people's life stories matter? Listen in. Maybe it will resonate with you. Check out the episode on Anchor...

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