Never did I imagine it would be me here at your funeral. Never did I think that you would be dead while I would be alive. Never would I have imagined your life, your immense person, to be gone.
When I go back to Glasgow you won’t be there waiting for me at the airport, a sparkly balloon in your hand and your crazy laugh blurting out as I spot you in the crowd. You won’t be waiting at home either, lolling on the couch reading a paperback or berating the TV. You won’t be in our bed, talking into the night about your memories, your dreams, your imagination creeping away from you with delightful ease.
I don’t know what I’ll do without you; you are my world. Without you I feel incomplete, and even here, with your cold body in that stupid box, I feel you are still with me. It’ll be when I leave without you that I will feel the frozen agony of separation.
I’ll have to move, maybe try another city, another country. You were always trying to talk me into moving to Barcelona, Berlin, but I couldn’t go without you. I’d be living your life as well as my own. I can’t do that.
I remember how we met, after you’d come out of hospital, after you’d tried to kill yourself. We knew each other vaguely through Sean, the Irish guy we both knew. I bumped into you on the street one night. There was a summer festival and the throng of revelers spun the air with a frenetic buzz. Yellow and amber lights illuminated the street and music spilled out of doorways in every direction. I took you into a bar and you told me your story, all blue and black with angst and pain. I took you home with me that night, and you stayed ever since. Over time, the blue and black became ruby and emerald and gold; your zest for life took hold of both of us.
We took the world by storm. Mountains had to be climbed, bridges crossed, new friends, new sensations, new worlds explored. The vast heaving bulk of the Highlands, a barren wilderness where giants might have once ruled over the massive, inhospitable mountains and lengthy strides of desolate tract; we had to cover it all, feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of it, the brutal, unsettling isolation, you and me, tiny, insignificant, on my motorbike meandering through the winding trail.
The quest for sunrises became your obsession, you waking me up at three to jump on the motorbike and fly off to a loch or peak or island in time for the new spectacle: the red blaze spreading amber and gold hues over mountains wrenched apart by deep, smooth lochs, the shadows of islands nearing their new dawn, Iona, Shuna, Skye; the future waiting to unfold. They’re all photographed, back at our place, each one with us, our heads joined in frozen grins in the foreground, as you hold the camera back and randomly click.
The bike always scared me. You never seemed to hold on tight. At first I thought it was because of the suicide: life didn’t mean so much to you. But then later, when life overtook you and defined you, you still wouldn’t preserve it. I’d given up begging you, and resigned myself to driving carefully. But I shouldn’t have trusted the other drivers on the road.
It was the freshest dawn, sparkling with life and courage. We were coming back from your final sunrise, a promontory into the ocean. It was as if we were walking on water, the flash fire of the new sunrise splaying the deepest orange over the shimmering water before us, and I felt like the world would never end.
There was a short tunnel, a truck on the wrong side, a sliding of the wheels, a crash against the wall, and then nothing.
They didn’t tell me you had died for a few days, to help my recovery. I was numb, my mind whirling in the fog of fantasy or reality or religion.
Where have you gone?
I woke early this morning to see the sunrise on your last day above the earth. I sat alone on a beach a few hours from your parent’s home, far from the remote mountains and solitary islands that you love. The sun seeped distilled onto the landscape, and I have never felt so alone. I don’t think I can do any more sunrises.
Sometimes I remember you telling me about your attempted suicide, the overdose of painkillers, the strange feeling of release, your essence slowly spreading out into the universe, and I find myself dreaming of seeing you once again.