Note, this is the last of the Walt series. I skipped last week because I didn’t want HC to become too fixated on that particular tragedy. Next week I’ll probably be talking about basketball.
It was up to me to break the news of Walt’s death to his two closest other friends, my then-girlfriend Julie and my pay Kyle. It was a very long night. Walt and I were close, but Walt and Julie were closer and it hit her a lot harder than it hit me. She had fewer friends than I did and next to me Walt was the only really close friend that she had. It was, to an extent, up to me to be the strong one.
So I spent most of my time trying to figure out the logistics of what had happened. Did he go out with the intention of killing himself? If so, why didn’t he take the gun? Or did he take the gun and his step-dad didn’t realize it? There were drugs in his system and I had been unaware of significant drug use on his part. Had he been using them for a long time? Was there a side of him that I, one of the closest friends he had, was unaware of? The drugs honestly surprised me a little more than the suicide did. So did the drugs take a depressed guy and make him suicidal? Was he suicidal and tried to take the drugs to cope? If he was strung out or whatever how did he drive home, take the gun, and drive out to the woods to do the deed? Did he take the gun to shoot cans or something? A passtime that I would have unfamiliar with if he regularly did things like that.
I spent my time nibbling around the edges of the issue at hand. You can only do that so long before something gives. It came to me in a dream.
I was at the football field of my junior high. No idea what I was doing there. Walt was sitting in the bleachers. “Walt! Oh, my God! Walt! You’re alive!” I lamely exclaimed.
He had a confused look on his face. Then he reassuringly smiled. “Oh, right, there was a misunderstanding.”
“Misunderstanding? I attended your funeral.”
“Well, it must not have been my body, right?”
“Must not,” I said. I ran and embraced him. “You have no idea how glad I am to see you. What are you doing here? You didn’t even go to school here.”
“Here is as good a place to be as anywhere. I was homeschooled. I didn’t go to junior high anywhere. So I’m here because you went here.”
“This is where you were at your lowest. This is where you came close to wanting to die. It would make the most sense that I would appear here, wouldn’t it?”
I still didn’t understand. He’d been down, sure, but the biggest evidence of how down he was was the suicide, which was apparently erroneous. “Why would you want to be where I was depressed?”
“Because maybe then you would understand.”
“Why I did what I did. I need you to understand. No, actually, you need you to understand.”
“What did you do? You never killed yourself.”
“So there’s nothing to understand. Because I didn’t understand why you did it.”
“Why wouldn’t I do it?”
“Why wouldn’t I kill myself?”
“Why shouldn’t I just take this gun, aim it at my head, and pull the trigger?” He asked.
I had no idea where the gun came from, but in his right hand he was holding a rifle. “Because that’s not the answer,” I lamely replied.
“Yeah, right. I’m fucking dead and here you are still criticizing my actions. You can’t even give me the last action I committed on earth without criticizing me for it.”
That didn’t make sense for a couple of reasons. First because I didn’t always criticize him. We had our differences and I gave him my two cents, but I was usually supportive of the decisions that he made and sometimes took to defending even the ones that I disagreed with. or at least I thought. But mostly it didn’t make sense for another reason. “But you didn’t…”
“Oh, get real, Will. You attended my funeral.”
“But you said…”
“And you attended it because I took a gun and put it to my head like this. And shot myself just like this!” BAM. He pulled the trigger and blood went everywhere. His face was all bloody, though he was still standing.
“Walt! What the fu…”
“And even now you can’t come up with a reason why I shouldn’t do it. Or can you? Tell me why I shouldn’t do it? Why I shouldn’t have done it.”
“Because people care for you?”
“So it’s all about you? Why should I want to live?” BAM.
I stood there silent. I couldn’t understand what was happening. He kept shooting himself. Part of his head was missing. But there he was, standing and taunting me.
“Tell me! I am a disgusting sinner in the eyes of God, my father didn’t even attend my funeral. My best friends stopped calling me. Suzanne betrayed me and Julie is all yours even though you don’t love her half as much as I do. Tell me what I have to live for! Tell me!!” BAM. BAM.
“Come on, Walt…”
He just kept screaming at me to tell him what he had to live for. I kept sputtering out, too shocked and devestated to answer him. “Tell me! Tell me!” BAM. “Tell me…” BAM. As he screamed and kept shooting himself, tears were streaming out of the half of his face that he had left.
And I woke up, sobbing and crying myself. I had plans with Julie that night, but I called to cancel them citing a sick stomach. Hubert wasn’t around and I didn’t want him to see my like that, so I headed out to work. I’d recently bought a 1998 Bob Schneider CD which had a song that was almost a perfect description of the range of emotions (and non-emotions) that I had been feeling. I took the CD to work with me. Once I got into the empty building and settled in, I played it on repeat while I cried. I hadn’t realized how much I had been holding it in and I was ready to stop.
my friend got shot all by himself in the head just last week he narrowly escaped growing older like the rest of us will you know i don’t miss him very much at all cause i have lost the ability to feel anything at all and i got problems all of my own you see to deal them you know that i hate you all cause my friend got shot all by himself in the head just week -Bob Schneider, Suiciday