Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
~ W.H. Auden
Tomorrow will be better….the day after that better still. But today…
Do you understand? Bobby died!!!! Bobby. Died.
Bobby and I were twins separated at birth. It had been discussed and agreed upon that except for our taste in men, we had far too much in common to have been anything else. He dubbed me a gay man trapped in a woman’s body. Which made sense in ways that I didn’t know existed, and slightly troubled my husband who had been Bob’s best friend since they were 7. What does it say that he married a woman that was so like his gay best friend? But even that makes a kind of sense.
Bob and I shared a love of many things. Mundane things that everybody loved: movies, a shared sense of style, the turn of a well crafted snarky comment. When he was full of compassion and love, he showered his friends with joy and light. So much so that occasionally the need for that light, our need for that light, led to him needing to hide from the responsibility. Unfortunately, we also shared a breath taking ability to spiral down into depression so quickly that we could disappear. Our ability to become hermits was stunning, although I will admit that he was better at that than I was, mostly because I was stupidly lucky enough to have married a cheerleader extraordinaire when it came to lifting me out of that darkness. Bob had the ability to let the world go by without him even though there were those desperate to find him. It was not a competition by any means, but his abilities, to those of us who understand what it feels like to sometimes want to give in to that apathy, were stunning. And also made us goddamn mad.
I borrowed Bobby from Keith, my husband and in some ways stole him. I did not know him as long as most of his friends but the bond we had was odd and strong and unbreakable. A phone call we had a couple of years ago kind of summed up our relationship. He had been in the hospital for his heart, (it had been sudden, harrowing and surprising and he was in Oklahoma and we were in Texas and we had been very scared.) and was now at home. He called and I answered, we had the usual greetings and how are you’s. Then he told me that his sister was being rushed to the hospital for open heart surgery. After a beat I just started laughing. His response was ” I know, right?”. He knew that laugh meant “What else? What else can go wrong for you?”.