My friend Zero and I on a Chocobo in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. I honestly thought his death would push me off the wagon, into the deep end, under the bus; whichever the correct metaphor is.
I’ve never had to deal with grief like this before.
I’ve never had a friend die. The closest I ever remember feeling to this is when my uncle died a week before my 18th birthday… and was subsequently buried on my 18th birthday. I didn’t/couldn’t attend the funeral, because we were A) living in Ireland at the time, and B) he is/was married to my Mum’s little sister, my Aunty Helen, which meant that all of my Mum’s family would be there, and we Don’t Talk To Them (except Helen and her children) because of that whole thing where my sister(s?) and I were abused for years and when we brought it up and took it to the police, he admitted it, got away with it, and they all turned their backs on us.
I wasn’t strong enough to face him, or them, at the time.
But it didn’t feel like this, for some reason. Even although he was family, we didn’t see them all the time. He was a wonderful man – one of the good ones – but we saw them once a month, maybe twice. Family, but distant.
My friend Zero, I’d only known closely since the start of last month. I’ve been talking to him since maybe January or February. But that’s been every day, or every other day. For the past month, it had been every day for hours at a time – with three days’ exception, where he went to Rock On The Range, and was home too late, and all I got to say was, “How was the concert today? All right, good, I’m going to bed.” Our schedules met up so I’d get to talk to him all morning until he went to work, then maybe an hour before I went to bed. Sometimes, if I could manage, I’d stay up and talk to him – and everyone else – until the wee hours of the morning until it was time for all of them to go to sleep, and I’d have already crawled into my bed, with Skype on my phone and my headphones in my ears.
His death hit me hard. To say he was more than a friend is… complicated. I’m not going into details, but even just saying it like that will probably give the game away a little. I know that my sexuality comes up a lot, and the easiest label – and I fucking hate labels about my sexuality – is queer, but technically, I don’t care what a person’s body is. I love the heart, soul, and mind of a person. I know there’s a term for that, but that’s confusing and sometimes wrong. I love people. I’d been falling in love with him, and didn’t realise it until he died.
So it hit me pretty hard.
I could have gone off the deep end… and I’m pretty sure that we all know what it’s like when I go off the deep end. Between alcohol, food, pills, scalpels and exercise, or a combination of all of the above, I could have easily ended up in the afterlife alongside him.
But I didn’t.
Zero and I had a conversation once, and he said that he didn’t like people. He tolerated them. He had a very short list of people that he did like, and my group of friends were amongst the people that he liked… myself included. With exceptions. Like when I was shitfaced drunk. Or like when I constantly put myself down. He said that he didn’t like the fact that I talked myself down – that he knew I wanted to be better, so why the fuck didn’t I just be better?
I said it on Twitter, a day or so after he died, that I was going to rejoin the gym, but I haven’t done it yet. I’ve made plans to get a tattoo in his memory, and it’ll need time to heal. I won’t be able to swim while it’s healing, and I don’t want to be exercising and accidentally scratching it while it’s healing, so I’m going to wait until it’s done to rejoin. It’s also giving me time to actually grieve.
Then maybe I will go off the deep end.
Or rather, into the deep end.
Get that waterproof MP3 player, and learn to dive or something. Make myself better.
Stop calling myself disgusting, and ugly, and fat.
I am none of those things.
I have fat. I can do something to change that.
I am beautiful – and I hesitated typing that down, because it sounds so fucking conceited, but I don’t mean I’m gorgeous to look at. I mean, I have a good soul. I try to put others before myself, when I can. (And maybe that’s a problem? Maybe I should try to put myself first, more often.)
I am not disgusting – I am goddamn lovable and adorable. I can be charming, and flirty and fun. I love life, and I can be existential and smart and witty. I just need to stop being so down on myself. Because I am a good person.
I just hope that Zero knew that about himself, too. You were a good person, Paul Davidson. A really fucking good person.
And I miss you, you bastard. ♥