As always, if you'd like to submit your own That Night story, send them to samantha(dot)sessoms(at)gmail(dot)com Don't forget to come up with a sign-off, leave your state and/or city, and which category your story falls under. You can include names if you'd like (and it's helpful to the reader, as too many pronouns gets confusing!), but last names will not be published for the privacy of those involved. The categories are: best, worst, crazy, embarrassing, and bittersweet. Today'sThat Night Fridaystory:
I remember that night when I discovered that a childhood rival passed away. The term friend isn’t appropriate, so I can’t use it. I’m not certain that he had any. He was named Bradley. We basically occupied the same artistic world in our youth. Youth—fuck, I’m still young, and he was certainly too young to be dead--dead for over 2 years. “Rival” is a bit strong too. We weren’t bitter rivals. Maybe that’s because the last time we went head to head (for a role in a musical), I was cast and Bradley wasn’t. I remember the feeling of walking into the audition and seeing him sitting there. The competitive juices started to flow. He stayed to watch all the auditions. I swooped in at the last half hour, and seeing him made me work all the harder. I wasn’t confident that I came out on top until the director called me. I think Bradley should be happy for that. In a way, it’s a sign of respect.
I wondered what he was up to, so I “Googled” him. I couldn’t find any hits, which is odd since he was into theatre and music. There are always links from performances, etc. I had to really dig, and I still couldn’t find anything. Then, I stumbled across a link to a classmate on Facebook who had posted his obituary two years ago. She thought the obituary was thin, so she was asking people to write something about Bradley. Thin? The obituary was ten sentences long. No one from Facebook even bothered to comment on her post. Granted, he was annoying. Bradley had developed that annoying type personality that comes from having been picked on too much. At least that’s what I think. For the record, I only picked on him once. If it makes it any better it was behind his back and he didn’t know. I had lost in a regional contest, and he wasted no time at feigning his surprise. I was already wounded and he salted the wound. So in all honesty, I don’t feel bad for that incident. Except, I do. I am better than that. If the cosmos allow you to feel my thoughts or read my words Bradley, I’m sorry. I feel worse though that I stood by and watched this slow train wreck called his life.
Now, I sit trying to gather my thoughts. I am sad. I guess my world was happier knowing that he was somewhere out there in it. I thought that he was journeying through life pretty much alone. His obituary only being 10 sentences confirms my belief. Couldn’t his mother have written something that showed he was loved? His father died young, and his mother was more into herself than her children. I heard they used drugs together. Either way, he ended up a drug addict. People knew too, but they didn’t do anything about it. I suppose you can’t stop an addict that doesn’t want to quit. I don’t even know if they tried. I am also disturbed that his sparse obituary was edited. It mentioned that he liked singing with the Madison Chorus. There isn’t a Madison Chorus as my next Google search showed. It’s the Madison Gay Men’s Chorus. I wonder why his mother left that out. We all knew that he was gay. I mean word got around when he kept inviting groups of straight men to a circle jerks...Seriously! He wasn’t without his issues, but whatever. High school is high school right? He was picked on for that though. I had a friend who once told Bradley never to touch him. Now that is ridiculous, but my friend is a decent guy. I flashed a smile and joked that he was just insulted that he wasn’t one of the people invited to the circle. Humor defuses situations. He stopped picking on him in front of me. I can’t help wondering if Bradley’s obituary was so loveless because his mother couldn’t accept the fact that he was gay? Does that still happen? If she wasn’t ashamed, why was it edited?
The saddest part of all was that he died in his home. It was one of the 10 sentences. It didn’t say from a battle of cancer or from a congenital heart defect. It just said he died at home. I know what this code language means. It makes me very sad. It was from an overdose or worse…that he just was tired of a world that didn’t care or love him. I’m also afraid that he might have been right. If the cosmos allows you to sense this Bradley, I want you to know that you did a stupid thing. You were wrong. Two years later, someone did care—me.
Only an acquaintance, Wasn't enough Washington (sad)