Here is a video version of me reading “Dear Denton” from Letters Never Meant to be Read.
I wish I could have been there to stop you. Anyone would have tried but I do think some of your friends or family would have been unsuccessful. It sounds so cliché to say but it had to be said. Being realistic, I believe in survival of the fittest and I know that you just weren’t meant for this world. It can be perceived as heartless but you weren’t very happy so off with it anyway.
What was going through your head when you purchased that gun from Wal-Mart? It is like any form of consumerism I suppose. You shopped with a smile on your face and asked to see the gun behind the counter. You may have been so happy that you didn’t feel that tight pressure when you handed over the money to the cashier. I can imagine you whistling your way back to the Cutlass and prying the cool steel from the cardboard in the cab like a young boy getting a new action figure. I imagine you peeling away the packaging with such intensity all the way home, in that incessant multitasking way you always had. I can see you smoking like a chimney, your last few, or did you already quit? Rolling down the side of the road, knowing the spot was already picked out many times before. I can see you pulling over and loading the gun, or was it already loaded when you left the parking lot? Were you crying? Did you cackle like you always used to or were you resolute? I wonder if your last thought was your crazy mother, your crazy girlfriend, or was it just music in your ears? Did you pray? Were you high?
At your wake, your mother was completely hysterical and she told me you loved me. I find that hard to believe because we hadn’t seen each other in years. She also said something I still don’t understand, that you were already in heaven. I thought that blasting yourself in the face on the side of the road meant that you were definitely going to hell. I asked another Catholic once and he gave me a confusing answer. He said that if you were able to ask for forgiveness between pulling the trigger and actually dying, you were good. I find this scenario more likely for someone who missed and dies in a hospital bed surrounded by family a few days later. But you didn’t miss when you shot yourself in the face.
Every time I see a beauty of a guitar, I imagine you standing there smoking, telling me how you could modify it or how you could give it a romp. I remember when I got my loan while at school and we went out shopping by where you lived for music equipment. We took the same Cutlass Cierra you shot yourself in and loaded it up with live show gear. I know, I know, I should have bought recording equipment instead. I thought I was going to be a rock star. The thing is, you could have been one, even if it was medium scale in the new industry.
I am always reminded of you by the painting The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso. I’m pretty sure you loved that painting and I find it interesting that Picasso painted it after his friend committed suicide.
If you are in heaven or are a roving ghost, the least you could do is give me some insightful advice or scare the bejesus out of me in order to get me to change my ways. I must be doing a decent job of it though, no one that I know that has died has visited me yet but I wouldn’t mind hearing your sarcasm again.
I remember leaving my shirt in your room on purpose after I took a shower, knowing that whatever girls you had over would get to see me come into the room all nonchalant, looking for my shirt and just throw it on. Kind of funny because I am porcelain white but it worked at least one time all the same. She was too young and I was too stupid to follow through, but I remember her and she remembers you.
Thanks for helping me find my place among the muck and the history and the pretentiousness that was Purchase. You helped me branch out and I didn’t feel so bad about being so green. It was great to go to your house during breaks and play guitar and talk about women. We had a great time hanging out with the nerdy girls of that suite and pretending to be so depressed and in pain.
The problem was, you were never pretending.