joe was one of my husband's best friends. they lived on the same street in high school. back then, they did drugs together--mostly hallucinogens. they were close like two people are close when they go through those sorts of experiences together.
he was always around back then. i never thought anything of it really.
after high school, he moved to oklahoma. he got into heavier drugs while my husband was giving them all up. they grew apart for a while.
then he decided that my husband was the only one who could help him get clean. he came to our house in georgia and stayed with us for a while until he could get a place to live. he interned at one of the best restaurants in georgia. we saw him a lot more.
he gave up heroin only to find pills. he was one of those people that always wanted to get fucked up. not just a little high, but really gone. he was pretty good at hiding it all though. he said he spent all of his money on dvds and such, but we always had an idea of what he did at night. my husband was always there for him.
he was so goofy. big and tall, with a goofy grin and gangly walk. we used to disagree for the sake of disagreement. i think we both wanted to be right--wanted to seem smart. i don't know.
we lived in the same town for years, until it came time for us to move to kentucky. when we left, there was no one to watch out for joe. we'd hear sad stories about him falling asleep at work because of the pills. eventually, he got fired.
from that point forward, he went downhill. i always knew he was sensitive, but i didn't know just how bad the pills had gotten. he moved back out to oklahoma to find work and went through a few jobs. he found a girl and tried to move quickly with her. they were engaged. he wanted so desperately to have a different life.
then she left him the day after his 29th birthday. it had been moving too fast for her. she had cheated on him. she wanted time to herself.
she didn't know how much he needed her--or just someone like her in his life. he lost it. threatened all sorts of horrible things when he was on the phone with my husband. he was so alone, but promised he wouldn't do anything crazy.
then, just a few days later, he was found dead of an overdose. maybe it was an accident. maybe it wasn't. either way, it is the end of his story. there is no more to that story. it's like an art film--there is an abrupt ending and the audience is left wondering what comes next. where is the character arc? would he have figured it all out? what was the reasoning behind such a final ending?
i guess real stories don't follow the same process that amateur writers use to create stories. his story just ended, leaving us all with more questions than answers. he was always there. now he will never be there again. end of story.