Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Thirty-three

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

On Friday, October fifth, 2001, I awoke around seven am and went straight into the shower While I was dressing, I heard my roommate Tom get into the shower, and just as I was headed towards the kitchen to eat a bowl of cereal, there was a knock at the door. This was before Tom and I had unofficially instituted our ‘just come on in’ policy, but the early hour made me suspicious. I peered through the peephole and saw a medium-sized fellow standing there with his hands in him pockets. I cautiously opened the door, and the man asked if Tommy was home. I said yes, but he’s in the shower. The man identified himself as Tom’s Uncle Tim, and asked if he could come in. I said sure. He was no sooner in the apartment then he asked for some coffee. Neither me nor Tom drank coffee, so I directed Tim to the gas station a block away. I felt my stomach tightening into a knot.

When Tim came back ten minutes later, Tom was still in the shower. I asked what brought him to town, and he confirmed my fears. We sat there in an uneasy silence for ten or fifteen minutes, I think the only words spoken were “Man, Tom sure takes a long time in the shower,”, to which I replied, “Heh.”

When Tom finally came out into the front room, he gauged his uncle with the same suspicion I had, and warily said “Uncle Tim, what brings you to town?”

“Tommy, your dad killed himself yesterday.”

“How’d he do it?”

“Shot himself.”

Tom just sighed. The three of us sat there for a while longer, then I excused myself to go to school. I broke into tears as I passed the liquor store near the footbridge and wandered aimlessly around campus for a while before the tears ceased. Later that night we had a great party at a neighbor’s apartment while Uncle Tim slept on our couch and Tom stared at the ceiling above his bed for hours. It was one of those rare parties that start with four people hanging out and turn into a bonafide party after everyone you call to come actually shows up. I went home with my girlfriend and disappointed her when I was too drunk to fuck. She started berating me for being a drunk, and I was able to shut her down by saying Look, It’s Been A Long Day. We Got The News That Tom’s Dad Killed Himself. Fuck I wish I had no excuse.

The next day Tom flew up to Seattle and Uncle Tim drove his truck up to begin clearing out Tom’s Dad’s apartment. I was able to get it up in morning, then left my girlfriend to go play in a drunken kickball game. Tom came home a week later with a death certificate and a long face. I don’t know if he’d cried yet. He had his Dad’s glasses, and he said that the lawyer said he’d mail the bullet to Tom later, after the matter was all settled.

When I worked in a law office a few years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a living saint named Glenda, who one day told me that her mother had died when she was seven, and her husband had passed when she was just twenty-five and he twenty-six, drinking, both of them. Glenda said that her mother’s death had created “a hole in [her] life, a hole you can never fill in”.

In the autumn of 2008, Tom found himself in the midst of a bizarre situation where his roommates had some strange ideas placed in their heads and started suspecting Tom of hiding all sorts of completely nonexistent secrets. It took a few months to straighten everything out, and it was tempting, really Goddamn tempting to go up to Arcata and scream at those assholes, scream “The ONLY thing Tom’s guilty of in this world is missing his father!”, but I didn’t, because I realized it would be pointless. They wouldn’t have understood, they weren’t there to hear the news. They didn’t have to read Tom’s father’s Social Security number off of his death certificate to switch the phone bill into their names. They probably never felt weird watching a copy of the Godfather that had once belonged to a man that shot himself in the head.

The worst part is that they could have been friends with a fucking great guy. Their loss, I suppose.

Tom, I’ll never leave you.

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One Response to “Thirty-three”

  1. tom, where are you?

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