I sat at Larry’s control point every day after that initial visit. We were on nightshift so he wasn’t too busy. I would get my work done in an hour and spend the rest of the night there talking with him. I wish I could remember everything we talked about. I do recall some of the conversation after he died now that I’m typing it all down.
Larry told me how his father beat him when he was a child and while he was on the floor crying in pain he would kick him. Larry said he loved his mother very much but she would just stand by and let it happen. I’m sure she was afraid of his father.
I couldn’t understand how a mother could let that happen. I guess I was angry at my mother when I was a teenager because she allowed my brother to beat me up when I was younger. Come to find out mother had nightmares of my brother.
My brother would pin me down on the ground and pound on me. Over and over. Usually there was no reason for it. I could just glance his way and he would get mad at me just for looking at him. I hated my brother when he was doing that. I thought a lot of the reason he was like that was because his friends did it to their younger siblings too. Especially one of his friends. He had some serious anger issues and he was very disturbed mentally (his friend, not my brother). He was a total and complete a** hole. He was an egotistic bigot and that's an understatement.
I also found out years later that my father was abusive to my brother (another story, maybe? Father lost his job, his wife and family, had back surgery, no pension, and was drinking then). All during the time my parents were separating and divorcing. I have forgiven my brother many years ago and we love each other very much now. I didn't see the drinking abusive side of my father, but there was some discipline that I question.
So I could relate to Larry in this sense. I loved my mother but was hurt and angry that she let it happen. My mother told me later that she had nightmares of my brother. Why was it such a taboo thing to get counseling back then? Well, I guess another reason is we didn’t have the money to get help.
When Larry told me these things of his parents it made me despise them. Larry told me he had a sister and he loved her very much. Thankfully the father didn’t hurt her.
There was so much more that he told me about his childhood that I don’t remember. Did he describe his personality and the things he was interested in? I can’t remember. I think he took a lot of the pain so his mother wouldn’t get hurt. That, I think, is commendable. But he mentioned some of the reasons he got hurt and I remember thinking how ridiculous it was but I don’t remember the specifics. Still I think a mother should want to protect their child in any way they can. Now that I’m a mother I would like to think that I would rather get hit then let someone hit my child.
Larry told me many many times that there were things that he did that would shock me and I wouldn’t like him any more if I knew. I told him there’s nothing he could say that would change the way I feel about him. The past was the past and if he learned from his past and he’s changed now, that’s all that mattered. He wouldn’t tell me those things which I’m grateful for now. I wouldn’t want his memory tainted. I like to remember him for the way he was with me.
He sometimes would talk to me and in a slow motion would close his eyes and rest them while he was still talking. I didn’t think much of it. I just thought he was working too hard, not getting enough sleep.
He told me how his biker friends betrayed him. His friends from years. He dated a girl who told his friends that he hurt her. Without asking him anything they came to him and beat him to a bloody pulp with bats and such. Something wasn’t right with this girlfriend because she wanted him back then she started dating one of his good friends. He told me he didn’t touch her. I believe him. He said she was a liar and she cheated on him with one of his friends. I imagined while he told me these things what it was like to be a part of a biker group. Tough is a weak word to describe them. But I’m surprised if they were long time friends before this girl came into the picture, why wouldn’t they ask him first? I know there’s more to this story then Larry led me to believe. He did say he hurt a lot of people. Being a part of the biker group, he was among them for beating up others. But he also stated that he did not hurt this girl. He was very remorse for the hurt he placed on others. It was like after they did this to him, he saw how wrong he was to do the same to others.
Larry sat right next to me on the picnic table at his control point. He was so close to me that our thighs were touching. He made me feel so good. Even though he was reliving painful memories and sharing these moments with me he always made me feel good. I would mostly just listen to him. I didn’t try to give him my two cents worth because just hearing his life stories made me realize that he lived a rough road and I couldn’t fix it. I didn’t try to fix it. But I listened. I didn’t try to diminish he feelings by saying little consolable comments. I knew that I couldn’t make anything different or better for him. I just listened. He knew I cared by my actions. I gave him my time. No one else mattered then. He was number one in my life. Not even Steve came between us even though he tried. He was very jealous. But after that stunt that Steve pulled trying to get me angry with Larry, I completely dropped him as a drinking buddy which wasn’t hard to do since he started to get possessive obsessive and wouldn’t leave after I told him to go many times.
Sometimes I sat across from Larry and he would get up and walk around the table to sit next to me. It made me feel so special. Larry was much older than me. I was 25 and he was 39. It didn’t matter. Didn’t even cross my mind. Time stood still and we connected in a spiritual sense so intimately I felt like we knew each other from another life. It was weird how sometimes I had Déjà vu. I was attracted to him. Deeply. But I was afraid of the attraction. He wanted more of me he said. Not in a sexual way. He wanted to do things outside of work. He wanted to share things with me in the other areas of our lives and see me in a different light. So we went to breakfast the first time at a small family restaurant
He asked me to do something before we met. He wanted me to have blue socks on. I laughed. Why? He said blue was his favorite color. His eyes twinkled and his crow’s feet wrinkled. Ok, I said. It was a harmless cute request. He put some sort of twist on this making it sound like it was some symbol of my caring for him.
So I went to the mall and bought a pair of thick very soft dark blue socks and a shirt to match. At breakfast he glowed over the fact that I did this and I was very nervous. I had a mixture of emotions whenever I was around him. I felt confident, powerful. He gave me strength to just be me and didn’t question it. I felt scared and nervous over the attraction I had for him. I felt at peace and accepted and loved in a different way that no one has ever been able to match.
There were others from work in the restaurant. I didn’t know anybody since I was new in town but he knew some people. He asked me if it bothered me to be seen in public with him. I said, “God, no. Why should it? We aren’t doing anything wrong”. He started to talk a little loud for others to hear some of the conversation. What he said eludes me now but he was probably trying to let others know that it was none of their business that we were having breakfast together. Then he would get quiet and talk more intimately to me.
It was hard to go our separate ways after breakfast. But we both needed sleep before we went back to work that night.
The next time we went out in public he asked me to cook and meet him in a park. Well, I didn’t take the time to cook. Instead I bought two dinners for our picnic. I guessed on what he would like. BBQ pork or fried chicken? He didn’t mind that I didn’t cook. We sat across from each other this time. I was wearing shorts and a tank top.
His eyes caressed my arms and shoulders.
He eyes poured over my skin. As if he was rubbing lotion all over it.
I never knew you could make love with your eyes. I’ve seen the lustful stares of men, but I never experienced this before. I loved it and it made me nervous too. A good nervous. My heart was fluttering. I was mesmerized. I couldn’t get enough of him. He asked me if I was attracted to him sexually. I felt like a schoolgirl when I said yes. He made some other comments and questions and I was firm with him telling him no. This was a first for me. I wish I didn’t say no now. I wish I knew what it was like to have his hands caress me like his eyes. I wish I could softly touch his hard muscles on his arms and chest while I felt his arms around me.
He was pleasantly surprised when I told him no. He looked at me approvingly and said how much he appreciated that and how he respected me for it. He wasn’t irritated or frustrated as I would notice most men would be when they were rejected. Instead he smiled and said “that’s ok.” In his deep, throaty voice.
His voice was musical to me. It was deep and throaty like I said but it also had a twinge of a high pitch on the backend. I never heard another voice like it. Someday I hope to hear it again. For some silly reason I remember specifically when he would page his supervisor over the paging system. “Mr. Jack Chantry…” He always said Mister or Miss. I admired that respect.
We went to the mall after our picnic and he wanted to buy me something. I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted. I didn’t want him to buy me anything expensive. I’ve always felt weird about that since another episode in my life when I was 19.
OK, flashback time…
Here I am, 19 years old, living with my mom in CA. I had my job as Assistant Manager at The Gap. Doing pretty good for myself. Just got promoted after 3 months of employment. I went to church and hung out with my youth group friends.
One, was Eric Mott (pig!). He played me like an out of tune violin. He told me I should get out from under my mama’s wing. He said he was moving to Texas and I should come with him strictly “as a friend”. He smooth talked me and told me he wanted to treat me like I should be treated. He wanted me to get a fresh new start with a fresh new look. He said he was going to fly me out there after he got settled and he would pick me up in a limo then take me shopping. He had a way with words. I should’ve known better. I had some street smarts but man! Was I gullible and naive.
Before he left for Texas he had a party at his parents’ house with all the youth group. We were drinking beer and joking. He popped in a homemade video of a concert. It was an 80’s rock band, Europe. One of the band members was a dead ringer for Eric. He told everyone there at the party that it was him. That he used to be in their band. The home video was jerky and not professional. We all whispered behind his back that we couldn’t believe he would tell lies like this, but we let him continue. We did question him about who was videotaping. He said it was a family member. Normally you might hear someone talking in the background when they’re taping, but it was creepily quiet behind the camera. We could even hear the shuffle of feet of others dancing around them.
Eric had an answer for everything. He even played some of the music on the piano to prove that he knew the music. I should’ve known from that moment on what type of person he was. But I didn’t care. I wanted to be treated like a princess. I thought he was my friend.
So I told my mom I was leaving. I even broke up with my pseudo boyfriend (whom I was completely infactuated with since high school. Funny, how he decides to tell me he loved me at this moment in time as I’m dropping him off at his ship for the last time and driving away. I thought to myself “it’s too late now. You had your chance”. This relationship was doomed from the start since he was constantly snowballing me).
Eric even told me what to wear. He wanted me to wear tight fitting jeans and high heels. He said that it was classy and sexy. I didn’t. I wore bib-shorts and flats. Eric picked me up in his new white big truck instead of a limo like he promised. I asked him where the limo was and he skimmed over that. I think he was trying to impress me with his new truck. On the way to his “condo” he shows me a cassette tape of Europe. He said that he was EMI (Eric Mott, Incorporated) which was written in the fine print in the backcover. He said that he wrote of lot of the songs on the tape. I must’ve been the biggest sucker. Deep down I think I knew something wasn’t right but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I met his friends in the neighborhood. I believe he was showing me off as if I was his girlfriend (sexually). He told me how I was going to love his roommate, Deneen who was in Germany. He was telling me if I wouldn’t date him then I should date his friend Deneen. I made it perfectly clear on the phone before I flew out there that we were just friends and I wasn’t attracted to him that way.
Then he took me shopping with another girl “friend” of his. He bought me a leather handbag, leather dress shoes, a silky nightgown, and a 3 string pearl bracelet that cost $300. That was a lot of money! I felt strange and told him no over and over but he wouldn’t accept that. He wouldn’t give up so I finally took it. Then he wanted me to sleep in his bedroom with his new bedroom furniture that he bought just for me to use while he slept on the couch.
Deneen came home and I instantly fell for him. He was a musical genious with the guitar. They were in a band together. I watched them at practice. One of my favorites they did was a cover song by Boston.
So Deneen and I hooked up. Of course this was after the fact that I had already been there two weeks before he came home from Germany. During this time I had one fling and then one night a neighbor knocked on the door in the middle of the night. Eric let him in. He had been in a fight and his hands were bloody and bruised. Eric let him in and told him to go ahead upstairs to me. He crawled into bed with me. I was asleep and he started to mess with me. I let him have his way with me. That obviously pissed off Eric. I regretted it in the morning. I was scared though. The guy had been drinking and he was rough on me. It was easier just to let him have sex with me then to try and stop him.
When Deneen came home I was enamered with him. I started sleeping in his bed so Eric could have his room back. But he still slept on the couch. I think to keep an eye on me. I used the back glass sliding door to meet with a different neighbor friend. Eric told me not to use the door. I was ticked. Why not? He said that door was not meant to be use. I said doors were meant to be used. Not this one. He didn’t want me using it again.
One evening I heard Eric on the phone downstairs while I was getting ready to go out. I stopped and sat on the top of the stairs when I heard my name. He was calling me a slut and said I was dressing like one because I wore tight jeans and high heels (I never wore high heels. I always wore flats.) After 10-15 minutes I realized who he was talking to…my mother!
I didn’t confront him. Instead I used the back door again the next day while he was taking a nap on the couch. When I came back he yelled at me and threatened me to leave. He said he was Jesus and I needed to get down on my knees and kiss his feet! WOW! I lost it! I yelled and screamed and cried! He told me he wanted me out of the apartment by the time he came back. He was going out for a couple hours. With Deneen! Deneen stood in Eric’s masterbath and they were getting ready to go out together. I was shocked that Deneen would turn his back on me like this.
I packed and went to the neighbors using the back glass sliding door (SNUB!). My neighbor was African-American. He took me in and comforted me. He said I could stay with him for as long as I needed. I called my sister and she said she needed two weeks to get the time off from work and drive down from MN to pick me up. I was in Austin, TX.
Deneen stopped by to see me that night. He was trying to tell me that he had to do it or he would’ve been kicked out too. I told him to kiss my ass and get the hell out of my life.
I asked Yvette, my sister, to not tell mom. I would tell her when I got to MN.
For two weeks, I got to know my neighbor real well. Too well. He brought me over to his friend’s house. He picked up his friend and we said goodbye to his friend’s wife. Then we went back to his place. They had dinner which I served to thank him for letting me stay with him. They went upstairs afterwards and had sex. They weren’t very quiet about it either. It was very hard to sleep on his couch that night. The next day my neighbor had a date with a girl and came home and had sex with her. I was getting very antsy to leave by this time.
When my sister finally got me and brought me to her home in MN, I finally started to relax and get my life put back in order. I was smart enough to cancel my rent check to Eric. Wasn’t long after I got a letter in the mail addressed to C. Hore. Inside was the nastiest letter I’ve ever read along with my cancelled check and cat feces. Nice. I burned it.
Fade back in Larry at the mall…
So needless to say I didn’t want any gift from Larry. But as a joke I let him buy me a fake nose ring. He stood close behind me at the register counter. I felt like he was protecting me and yet hovering over me to smell me. I could tell others were looking at us like we were an odd pair. Him, a 39 year old, rugged, chiseled, weight lifter. Me, a young 25 year old, look like his daughter or better yet “niece”. He didn’t touch me while we were out. I felt safe around him.
I did feel weird walking next to him in the mall. He seemed short and stocky but he was at least 5’7” or 5’9”. Had to be close to 200 lbs of pure muscle. He walked crisp and sure. Unafraid. Even though his body was fit and young looking, his face was worn and weathered as if he lived many lifetimes. His hair soft, shiney, straight, and bouncy gave him the air of youth which contrasted with his mannerisms of an aged wisdom. He had a wide mouth with thin lips, small teeth and strong cheekbones. His eyes were set evenly on his face, not beady or too wide. With crow’s feet permanently marking each corner, his eyes were piercing but warm.
His big grin enhancing his high cheekbones gave a hint of an Indian heritage. Although I don’t know what nationality he was. His eyes – were they blue, gray? I believe more gray which matched the color of his soul. His neck was thick and muscular. His hands small but strong. I watched him intently once while we were at his control point. He was having a rough night unbeknownst to me. He leaned forward and grabbed his ankles and stretched as if he were an athlete getting ready for a run. He put my youthfulness to shame. I watched in awe at his tight buttocks and lean thighs. I blushed at the warm feeling I felt all over my body. Did he know I was admiring his body? I think he had hoped. He stood up and reached into his drawer in his desk and my eyes widened in surprise at the stash of candy bars he had in there. We weren’t allowed to have food in the Radiological Controlled Area (RCA). He took a snickers and ripped the wrapper open and popped it in his mouth in two bites. I smirked, enjoying his rebellion for the rules. Enjoying his never-care attitude. Not afraid of trouble. Probably wouldn’t even get a talking to if his supervisor saw. I had no idea of his condition. I wouldn’t know of it for a month later until I heard his eulogy.
I liked the way his scrub pants were tight around his waist leaving no doubt he was without briefs. The scrub pants fabric was thin, blue cotton. Much thinner than a simple t-shirt. I wanted to touch him then. I could feel the fabric in my mind as I placed my hands on his butt. Felt the heat of his skin and the firmness of his muscles. Wow. Didn’t know I could fantasize like this.
During the time I visited Larry at his work area, others seemed to have disappeared. Literally. I wonder if Larry told all the other techs and workers to get lost whenever I showed up. No one bothered us. Either that or everyone knew not to mess with Larry. Or maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks now. Eliminating all the others from my memory and only remembering him. Like when you see in a romance movie the lovers feel like they are the only ones in a crowded room.
Since I heard of Larry’s reputation and knowing my own reputation that I didn’t care for, I’m sure rumors ran rapid. I didn’t care one iota. He told me over and over again, “it’s ok.” He commented on my manic depression and that’s ok. He commented on my self-consciousness and that’s ok. Any faults that I had were ok in his eyes. It was like I was being forgiven and accepted by God. An unconditional love warranted by a powerful being. Was Larry an angel? Did he even go to heaven even though he took his own life?
He pulled me aside one time. Away from the control point and into an enclosed stairwell. It was dim in there. A red glow illuminated from the emergency light. He just wanted to be alone with me. He wanted to know what it felt like even though we were alone all the time. We were in a tighter space. I think the darkness and the close quarters intrigued him to be with me. He said he liked my body. I said thank you. He said I had a nice body, I said I know. He laughed. It echoed. It filled my heart to hear his laugh. He said that he admired my honesty. He liked that I didn’t pretend to be someone else. He said it’s not very often you hear of someone humbly acknowledged they liked their own body. Especially women. I said that I know my body’s not perfect. I don’t have virtuous curves or a big chest, but it was enough for me.
Larry met me at a time in my life that I started to love myself and life. Listening to Joyce Meyers Ministries filled me with what I needed at that time. I was increasingly happy the more I talked to him and the more I listened to the ministries. Larry was getting deeper in his depression. I knew that it was a feeding frenzy between the two of us. We filled each other. I know now what it’s like to feel complete when I’m with someone else. I was ecstatic. Larry couldn’t love himself and he loved me fiercely. I could love myself but I wasn’t freeing myself to love him completely. I was afraid of this strong love. He was afraid of scaring me away.
I felt like I was in the forbidden zone standing there in the stairwell with Larry. It was exciting. Daring. I wanted more.
He was very angry with me one time. I was so happy nothing could bring me down. He was so depressed. He was so angry that he curtly told me to knock it off. He said because I was happy doesn’t mean everyone else around me had to be happy. He was miserable and he wanted me to let him be miserable. I said I was sorry. I didn’t realize I was acting that way. I didn’t expect him to be happy because I was happy. But I wasn’t about to be miserable because he was miserable. I told him he made me feel too good. He couldn’t argue with that.
It was getting closer to the end of the outage. I was going to be leaving soon to work at another state. He walked me out to my truck one morning, complimenting me on my practical taste in getting a pickup for my travels. He was a gentleman putting me in the driver’s seat and shutting the door saying good night.
We had a little “end of the outage” party at the local pub. There must’ve been 20 people there, not much but we filled the bar. Larry came. I was so excited. He sat down across from me at a long crowded table. He ordered several shots. If I could lift one eyebrow, I would have. He told me how he would get so drunk at home that he would pass out. Somehow I knew he wasn’t supposed to drink for medical reasons. But I let it drop. I was so happy he was there with me. We were usually alone together most of the time. People at work would leave us alone. Even his supervisor walked in on us when we were in one of those deep talks and he just looked our way then turned right around and walked out. I thought I was in trouble but he never said anything to me. Was he afraid of Larry in a sense? Or did it just not matter since I got my work done and did a good job. There were no complaints that I didn’t respond immediately. But then, maybe there were no complaints because nobody wanted the wrath of Larry.
It was strange to share Larry with others at the party. He sat amongst everyone but he was very much alone. (Oh, God, Larry. I want to hold you so bad!) He let me be. My normal exurberant self. I flirted and laughed. I was oozing happiness but Larry didn’t smile. After he downed his shots and I had a few beers, he got ornary. The happier I became the more irritated he was. He stood up and told me he was leaving. He asked me to walk him outside. We opened the heavy wooden door that shielded us all from the blinding sun outside. The light was bouncing off the sidewalk and parking lot. Flashes of lightening reflected off cars and windshields. We covered our eyes with our hands as we walked towards his car. He turned to me and stopped. I don’t want you to go he said. I said I didn’t either. We didn’t say anything for the first and last time. His hair was so soft. The softest I’ve ever felt. I felt like I was hugging fragile glass. Afraid he might break. He felt so good. The strength in his back, the bulkiness of his shoulders. I don’t know who pulled away first. There was a longing in his eyes. He drooped a little more. Weariness taking over his body. He was so tired. Tired of Life. Tired of losing loved ones, I assume.
I miss him so much.
On the last night he called me to his control point and after another one of our meaningful conversations he hands me a box. “Don’t open it until you get home” he said.
I went back to my work area and opened it in front of my coworker. It was a bottle of perfume, “Beautiful” by Este Lauder. A pink ribbon was wrapped around it. My heart pounded as I opened it up. I thought, I couldn’t accept this. He was my gift. Just being himself. I put it back in the box getting ready to give it back when my coworker stopped me. She said “it’s ok to accept this, Charissa”. She was right. He wanted me to have it. It would’ve hurt him if I gave it back. He didn’t want it back. Which is why he gave it to me on our last night together. He didn’t want to give me an opportunity of returning a gift that was very important to him. I wish I could remember what he said and how he said it. In any case, he made me feel as though I was the most beautiful person in the whole world. Inside and out. I always felt that he spoke very eloquently. Oh how my heart aches for him. I would rather have him and not the stupid perfume right now. Ironic, that I can’t be without a bottle of this perfume. I’ve gone through 3 bottles since. I don’t wear it all the time like I used too. Only on special occasions or when I’m reminiscent.
I called him from my work area after I opened the gift. I thanked him shyly. He knew how I felt. He told me I was beautiful, that I needed to believe that in my heart. He wasn’t talking about appearances but what’s inside. I was anxious. What would become of us? He wanted me to stay. I said I couldn’t I had to go to work. I was already committed to my next job. He asked if there was anyway he could get me to stay. His voice was pleading, but he was afraid to tell me how he really felt. I lightly laughed the seriousness away and said we’ll see each other again. He didn’t think so. I promised him I would be back for another outage. His depression was overwhelming. We argued in a loving way over this. I told him not to worry and that I would come to visit him whenever I could.
He called me a couple times while I was working in Michigan. We talked for hours. He was completely lost. He was telling me all sorts of things. He didn’t want to go on. He needed me. I told him he was so depressed that he needed professional help. There was a lot he wasn’t telling me. He asked me to quit and drive back to him. He asked me to live with him. I said I couldn’t. He asked why. I don’t know why now. What reason did I give him?
He called me another time and I was getting ready to go out on a date. I didn’t blow him off. I talked with him for a long time getting ready in the process. My date was waiting but I didn’t care. I would rather talk to Larry. Larry made a comment about what I was doing to get ready. He imagined I was getting ready to go on a date with him. I said “Oh, Larry, I love you.”
“I love you.”
My heart raced. He told me he had a letter for me but he threw it away. I said I wanted it. I asked him to please send it. He said he would. But he was afraid of what I might think. I comforted him saying nothing he could say or do would change the way I feel about you. I could hear his deep throaty chuckle. I hugged the receiver closer to my ear. Neither one of us wanted to hang up. But we did.
I got the call at work. My coworker, Dawn, was on the phone from Ohio. I immediately was on edge. Why was she calling me?
“Larry’s dead….I thought you should hear it from me. He took his life on Halloween night. They say he left paperwork on his kitchen table…”
“NO…NO…NO….!!!!” Complete and utter darkness. Heart constricted. Lighted-headedness.
“…he left you his beneficiary…”
“NO…NO…NO…” My whole body shook. My tears gushed out faster than I have ever cried. I vaguely heard Dawn say she would keep in touch and let me know the funeral details. I hung up the phone. The whole time my site-coordinator was sitting across from me at his desk. He asked me what happened. I told him Larry Miller died. He said “Did you have sex with him?”
A** HOLE! F**K YOU!
I killed him with my eyes and barely whispering the word no, I left the room. I didn’t stop crying for weeks. I cried hard and long. Stopping only short periods and crying harder. I cried while I ate, while I walked, talked, worked. I cried myself to sleep every night.
One night I was lying on my bed in my hotel room, just thinking about him when I imagined him lying beside me. Kicked back on the pillows, legs crossed at the ankles. Halfturned towards me. I talked insanely to him. Yelling at him. Why did you do that? Why couldn’t you wait for me? The whole night I went off on him. Beating the pillows. Clenching my fists, nails cutting the skin. Then silence. I realized that I felt his presence with me in the room. I didn’t want him to go away. I turned to my side, staring into space. Wired tired. I wasn’t going to let him go just then. He was there with me in spirit. I knew it. He was trying to tell me “it’s ok”.
I was allowed to take a week off to drive to Ohio for the funeral. I was very grateful for that even though I wanted to wring my site-coordinator’s neck for what he said. I didn’t think I could forgive him for that. That was insensitive and irrelovent. Even if I did have sex with him that wouldn’t have changed the fact that he killed himself. You don’t say something like that right when someone hears of their death.
I don’t know how I made the drive from Michigan to Ohio. The leaves were beautiful along the interstate. The autumn colors filled every tree. It was picturesque. The air was crisp and cool. The leaves hadn’t started to fall yet. My mind raced as fast as I was speeding. But I appreciated the beautiful scenery. I thought it was perfect to remember Larry in a beautiful fall season as this. He was autumn. The color of his honey skin. No, his hair was honey. His skin was more wheat colored. The honey colored hair streaked of gold, blond, light copper as it shown in the sunlight.
The way he slowly closed his eyes completely when he talked to me. I felt so close to him and yet a million miles away.
So many thoughts. So many feelings.
I was scared going back to his town. A different lady that worked with him called me and told me I was welcome to stay with her family during my stay for the funeral. She had another girlfriend/coworker staying with her too. Along with her husband, twins, and Larry’s dog, Colby. The house was full of life. Us three girls got to know each other really well during that short period of time.
She took care of me. They both did. The three of us went to visit Larry’s parents. I sat in the back of her mini-van as we drove the couple hour drive to his old home town where he grew up. I thought of a thousand things I wanted to say to his parents and then a thousand more I wanted to say to Larry.
We went up to the house and knocked on the door. His mother answered. The other girls did all the talking. His mother let us in. We sat in their living room. His father in his own chair.
He glared at me. His look cried out “SLUT!”
His mother cried quietly but without hesitation probed why we didn’t tell her he was depressed. If she only knew, she could have helped him. On one hand, I wanted to reassure her. On the other hand, I wanted to scream “as if I didn’t want to help?!” I never dreamed he would take his own life. Still couldn’t believe it was really happening.
All I could think about was what Larry told me about his parents. I hated his father and didn’t know what to think of his mother.
I made it through the visit. The three of us went back to a hotel for the night. The wake was the next day.
I went to the bar in the hotel. Ran into a few others that I knew from work. It was a strange day indeed.
We came to the wake the next day. I was petrified to walk in there even though I was with two other wonderfully nice girls. I still felt alienated. There was a poster board with a bunch of pictures of him. I didn’t recognize him. He was overweight, not fit. He had brown hair. Am I in the right place?
We were called to sit down while the pastor said a prayer. I felt everyone’s eyes on me even though I sat in the back. I saw many bikers there. No mistaking them with their getups. Many people I would have no clue who they were. A few coworkers were intermingled here and there. Nobody said anything to me. But their eyes said it all.
The pastor started. He said that first of all, Larry found out that he had diabetes for about 15 years or so and didn’t know it. Then when he found out he started to get in shape and try to change his life. He was so far gone that they told him he needed to be put on dialysis. Of course, he didn’t want that. Then he got pneumonia. He was to be hospitalized and he wasn’t going to get any better. He was deteriorating and fast. He didn’t want to go like that so he took care of it himself.
I was frozen. Shocked. I had no idea. There were clues but I didn’t see them. He never let on that he was ill. He seemed so healthy.
It was time for everyone to visit him at the front. Finally, it came to me in the back row. I walked up to him in the casket. I’ve been to funerals in the past. Family and friends. I never felt so much pain. Was I the channel that everyone was tuned in? It was deafening the silence in my head.
I came up to him and stood at the head of the casket just staring at him. I didn’t recognize him. I searched and searched for something to show me it was him. Some sign of his former self. I’ve heard people say this before. Never thought it to be true. I couldn’t breathe anymore. I went outside. I paced back and forth in front of the funeral home. It was completely dark by now. Only the street light shown on the sidewalk as I paced. I hurt so bad.
I still don’t know how he died. No one would tell me how he did it.
The next day was the burial. The three of us girls drove together. I couldn’t get out of the minivan. I couldn’t stop bawling. The veterans shot their rifles. It seemed surreal. He was a vet. He was so much older than me. Here were all these people that I don’t know and yet I never felt so close to anyone in my whole life. I have never felt that closeness with anyone since.
Larry’s sister, Holly, came up to the minivan and knocked on the window. I jumped. I was slumped over crying uncontrollably. I opened the door. She handed me a rose and said that she appreciate the three of us girls and how we came together and supported them in this time. She was really taken aback by our kindness. She turned to go and handed roses to the other two girls.
I bawled even more.