Monday, October 16, 2006

We've Lost a Genius

I'm hurting today, and my heart is broken. I'm devastated. It'll take me a while to get over this.

I checked my CallWave voicemail yesterday afternoon around 1:30pm and noticed my buddy Drift had left a half-dozen or so messages. I listened to the first one, and it sounded like the normal messages he would leave. The second one, however, sounded odd, and worried me, so I skipped to the last one. In it, he asked me to post the message to a blog. I can't quite bring myself to do that, yet.

Anyway, in the message he said some suicidal things, and "See you in heaven, brother." Red flags went up, and warning bells rang. I looked at the time on the message. He left it Saturday night at around 8:50pm. I immediately picked up the phone and called him. No answer. I tried again. No answer. I tried again and again and again, letting the phone ring for a LONG time. No answer. I started to panic.

I called Jamie. I asked him if he had heard from Drift. He checked his myspace, and saw a message from Drift asking him to pick up some cigarettes and bring them by. Then, a message telling him not to come by.

We rushed over to his house.

We got there, and started banging on the doors and windows, but couldn't rouse him. We kept banging and banging, with no response except Sheena, his black chow, barking from inside. Jamie called for the police on his radio. In a few minutes, the police arrived. They started banging, too, and started looking for a way in. They couldn't find one. One of them flipped over his homemade picnic table, and used the crate he was using as the center stand to climb up high enough to look in the window. The policeman said, "He's on the couch." I asked if he was asleep. The policeman didn't say anything and ran to the door and started trying to kick it in. After a couple kicks, it swung open, and we rushed inside. I asked again, "Is he asleep?" "He's dead," the policeman said. He didn't have to say that though, because what I saw will probably stay with me for a while.

The police officer asked me to get back, and I walked out of the house, fighting back the tears. I wanted to get far away. I REALLY wanted to believe he was just asleep on the couch but what was on that couch made that really hard to believe. As soon as I walked out of the house, they were calling for someone to get his dog. Sheena was perched on his lap, head lowered, hair standing on her neck, and teeth bared in the dark living room, so that against her jet black fur, they were almost all you could see of her. I was the only one who knew her well enough for her not to attack. Even still, as I approached, she growled so deeply and angrily, it made me wonder if I should get her. I knew she was a sweet dog, and had slobbered on my face enough to trust me. Walking slowly, I took her collar.

She didn't want to leave him. She growled at the police officers as I pulled her towards the door. At that point, my heart completely broke. Seeing her atop her master, defending him to the end was almost too much. She is a LARGE dog. There's no way I could have gotten her off of him without help if she hadn't relented. I told her it was ok, and that they would take care of him. My reassuring tone must've registered with her, because she allowed me to pull her off of him. When she moved, I saw the revolver still in his hand, resting on his chest. My heart broke again.

Standing outside, watching the police, then the coroner, then the morticians come and go, one by one, was surreal. I kept saying, "I can't believe it." I still can't. I kept checking my myspace last night to see if he would come online, or send me a message. Somehow, it wasn't really happening. It couldn't be.

Everything after that was a blur, pretty much. He was a tremendous character, had so many ideas, and was gifted in so many different things. But he was troubled. Anyone who knew him knew that. He fought on, though, and always kept a stiff upper lip. He was tough to the end. I never saw him act unhappy. He'd share his troubles, but always seemed to be the type that could take it on the chin.

I'm gonna miss him. I already miss him.

I wish I could have gotten his calls Saturday night. If only one of us had replied back to him... But we never expected this. Never. I thought he might drink himself to death... but not this. If I had gotten his messages, I would've called. I would've rushed over, and made sure he got help, or at least calmed down enough to see the consequences of what he was contemplating.

I know he was in pain. Always. Even though he never showed it. He was tortured by his own mind. That pain is over for him, now.

God, this sucks.