I read the last sentence of every book I ever hold long before I ever even read the title, or the author, because, as a writer, and as a human being, endings are the hardest thing to write, and because I still don't know how to say goodbye to you. I remember when I read the text message telling me what had happened, what you'd done, I laughed to myself about what an ******* I thought you were, saying something like that, and then I went to bed. I remember thinking that I was playing along, going with the joke, not believing for days that you were ACTUALLY unlucky enough to ACTUALLY pull it off. I remember my heart beating painfully and in reverse while reading everyone's best wishes to your mother, and I very vividly remember the way a little piece of me then bolted for the nearest exit, like a punk rock kid running from the police. I remember walking into your funeral, and a small twelve year old boy with long hair and glasses, who told me how much freedom he felt from punk music, looks me up and down as if he was a bouncer, or there was some type of criteria or dress code I'd missed. The kid spots the long knife on my leg hanging from my belt and the red anarchy symbol on the silver ring I was wearing that now lays on your grave, tied to a metal flower, next to a cross I'd flipped upside down, and says to me with such conviction, without a doubt in his mind, "Sweet blade. You were Jon's friend." as a bold and obvious statement, not a question. I remember walking in slowly and not being able to make eye contact with a single person in that room, because I felt so guilty, and I had so much shame for laughing at that text. I remember dreaming recently that you called me on the phone and told me it was all some giant, year and a half long prank that you somehow managed to accomplish. It's a little frightening to think about, sometimes, I think, because I've been there before, y'know? I've been there, I have I've stared down the barrel before, I was just too scared. I took my finger off the trigger and threw the gun off the bridge I was sitting on. I called 911, and told them what happened. They couldn't find the gun, but I caught weapons charges. So many people, like me, in my life, so many people I've met in those program, in those hospital, in situations like mine, they're dead or they're drug addicts, but me, I'm still standing. I'm still standing. I'm. Still. Standing. It'll be your 21st birthday in a few months, and we can't even go get a drink together. I'm sorry I didn't see the signs. Why didn't you reach out to any of us? I would've answered the phone for you. I'll never ignore a phone call. We met in hell, but we got through it together, and you, my brother, you will never leave my mind. I think you've figured out a way to live on forever, it was by living a life that no one could ever forget. So this is for you, Jon, and for Liam, and for Milly. Tell Cobain I say "what's up?" I love you. I miss you. All.
This one is for my brother Jon who took his own life in April of 2014.