"I want to be my own design" Clive Barker - Imajica

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Has it really been 14 years?

Monday June 9, 1997

I was sitting on my bed reading or rather pretending to read until Taylor called after his court ordered counseling session was over and we could commence making our plans to rendezvous for the evening. I looked at the clock and thought “5:30 he should be home any minute” the phone rang. It wasn’t Taylor, it was his mom, Wendy. She sounded very calm but asked to talk to my mom which immediately alerted me to the fact that something was wrong. I brought the phone into the living room of the mobile home my mom and I were living in at the time and after I handed it off I stood there with arms crossed listening. 
As soon as my mom asked “what happened” I knew. I knew with every fiber of my being. Taylor had killed himself. I stood there repeating “Taylor’s dead, isn’t he?” until my mom finally hung up the phone. She hung up the phone and tried to get me to sit down as my tears started to flow but I refused until she told me what happened. I had to hear it from her. Until I actually heard the words I felt like it was still unreal. “Taylor killed himself this afternoon.” It was then that I started to lose it, to let go, to shake and weep like I had never cried before. Huge, wrenching sobs. Taylor. My love. The person I had made up my mind to spend the rest of my life with. Gone. Forever.

I paged my friend Lynn over and over again until she called me back. I haltingly told her what happened and explained that my mom and I were on our way over to Taylor’s house because the police needed to speak to me and I needed to find out if it was true. It couldn’t be true. This was all some joke right? Sure a cruel joke but better a cruel joke than harsh reality. We drove to their house in silence only broken by me sniffling and desperately trying to hold it together.

We pull up in front of the house I’ve been to a million times and it’s almost like I don’t recognize it. There are 3 police cars and an ambulance, I stop to think - wait, why is that here if he is dead? Surely that means that there is still hope right? We get out of the car and Wendy and Steve come up to us, both strangely calm but red eyed and hoarse voiced. Wendy hugs me but I barely register it. All I keep thinking is “where is Taylor? I want to see Taylor. I need to see Taylor. He can’t be dead.” Suddenly Lynn arrives. It’s good to have a friend there. Someone who knows Taylor and I differently than our parents ever will. I feel… relieved to have her there but still anxious. They tell me I can’t go inside because his body is still in there. In his room. He’s up there? I want to see him, I want to go to him and have him take me in his arms and apologize for the joke they are playing on me. All of a sudden a vehicle marked crime lab shows up. They explain to me that crime lab had to come because there were drugs and alcohol involved. And now there are more cops and they are pulling me to the side of the house because they are about to bring the body out and they don’t want me to see it. I need to see it. I need proof that he’s gone. Until I see it, I will believe he is there somewhere. They bring the body out on the stretcher inside the body bag so I can’t see anything but a long shape in a black bag but I still won’t believe it. 

A male cop starts to question me about the last time I saw Taylor. I explained that the last time I saw or talked to him was when I dropped him off at his house the night before. I remembered Taylor hugging and kissing me with tears in his eyes. When I asked him what was wrong and tried to get him to talk about it he just shook his head and said he didn't want to talk about it but that he would call me the next day. He said he loved me one more time before getting out of my car. The cop started to get shitty with me, treating me like some young piece of ass that has no feelings, I start getting agitated, fidgety. A female cop notices and comes over to finish the questioning. She is much nicer, more sympathetic. When I tell her that Taylor is my first love she gets a little teary herself. When I tell her that he and I had discussed getting married in the fall she shook her head and gave my hands a sympathetic squeeze. They explained that I was the last person other than his little brother to talk to him or see him beforehand. His little brother was off with a friend of the family. Apparently he had discovered Taylor's body. Poor Cameron. What a horrible thing to see. What a horrible image to have burned into your already troubled 9 year old brain.

I talked to Wendy and Steve, about what I don't recollect. That memory has thankfully gone dim over the years. I don't remember what I did that night. I do know that I was in a haze of denial over the next week. I refused to believe that Taylor was gone. I couldn't believe it. I kept having dreams about him where I would wake up and I could smell him and my hands would tingle with the memory of his skin. I'd wake up and realize it was just a dream and the tears would start again. I know I spent a lot of time with Cameron, I spent a lot of time with many of Taylor's friends and even with some of his ex-girlfriends.

I still had trouble believing he was really gone. His parents arranged for me to have a private viewing of the body prior to cremation so I could get some closure and say goodbye. My mom came into the room with me. I had never really had to deal with the death of someone close to me before. I remember being pissed off that they had washed his hair. He rarely washed it because it so curly that he would look like a pouf ball when he did wash it. I was adamant about the fact they should not have washed his hair until my mom explained that they had had to wash it to get the... fluids out of it. He lay there on the gurney in the funeral home dressed in his Bauhaus shirt with the long velvet skirt and those stupid Chuck Taylors that he loved so much. The neighborhood kids had brought a jar of Kool-aid and a thing of sushi to be cremated with him. The lights flickered and made it look like he was breathing for a minute. It almost broke me. I had to get out of there and try to process it. It was starting to hit home. Taylor was really gone. Forever. 

 I found out later that when they found him he was wearing the clothes I had given him for his birthday, he was holding a copy of a god awful piece of poetry that I had written for him and he had this silly lion that I had given him for Valentines Day next to him. His parents gave me a copy of the letter he left behind in his journal. He explained his reasons for doing what he did.  He said that he loved me very much but that he could not face what was coming. He was on probation and had had two dirty urine tests which meant that he would be going back to jail.  I was one of the only people that really knew what happened to him the one time he had been in jail previously.  I knew that if he actually went back to jail it would have killed him eventually maybe not physically but emotionally, spiritually, in every other way he'd be dead and he couldn't face that.  There are 14 pages in that letter. He quoted from his favorite Joy Division song. 
Mother I tried please believe me,
I'm doing the best that I can.
I'm ashamed of the things I've been put through,
I'm ashamed of the person I am.

Isolation, isolation, isolation.

But if you could just see the beauty,
These things I could never describe,
These pleasures a wayward distraction,
This is my one lucky prize.

He tried and ultimately he failed at surviving the world in all it's harshness and he failed to see the beauty and the happiness that is there alongside the awfulness and the pain. Even at the time I understood why he did what he did. I missed him, I wanted to join him so much but I never once hated him for doing what he did. I only hated him for leaving me behind. Leaving me alone. The pain was so overwhelming for so long. Gradually as time passed I started to heal. I started to let go of all the baggage I was carrying in regards to Taylor and his suicide. As even more time went by I started to let go of Taylor himself. It's been 14 years and I won't deny that I still miss him sometimes. His smile, his sense of humor, his passion. 

But I have finally and fully moved on with my life. I have Mr. S, I have my friends that are much more like family, I have my blood family and most of all I have me. I survived. Something I never would have believed all those years ago.   I'm still here and I'm happy.

1 comment:

  1. Once you’ve been through it all, nothing is scary enough to stop you (http://www.divatology.com/deeper/?p=1690).