I got a call on Sunday night. From my mother, who was holding a party she didn't want to hold, that I had blatantly lied to avoid. What drunken dialing is this, I wondered, as I ill-advisedly tapped answer. She handed the phone to my catering sister.
'Gerry Haugh died.'
'Oh. Okay. Thanks.'
That was it. I thought briefly about finding out where and when the funeral was, but rejected the concept almost immediately. There is no way, I reasonably reasoned, I am going anywhere near those cunts. And he's dead. He's not going to care. Because he's dead.
And today, two days later, it has finally sunk in. I've been doing a lot of choking back this past hour.
I ran joyously through a forest. He supplied the trees.
I wore a scarf on my leg. He made no comment.
I fell in love for the first time. He was in the room.
I watched the Rocky Horror Picture show. Did all the newspaper water-pistol shit. He felt it needed to be done. I found myself in agreement.
I sat in Dunkin' Donuts for hours, drinking coffee and smoking. Talking shit about books, music. He never came by, but he would have approved.
I lost my virginity to Julie from Ballinskelligs. We did it in a field, I could hear Bon Jovi playing from the pub. He organised the trip.
I read The Razor's Edge. It was on a list he gave of books that must be read. So I read it. I started reading it again last Friday. No, really, I did.
I became an actor. Because he showed me how and it made him proud and what the fuck else was I going to do?
I wrote a thesis on the lyrics of Robert Smith. 'Sign it, date it, keep it,' he wrote. I didn't. I wish I had.
I learned that it was okay for boys to kiss other boys. I didn't much like it.
I suffered a terrible loss. Ballinskelligs again.
I wondered, even in the self-obsessed haze of adolescence, how I too could be endlessly selfless and calm and kind and gentle and smart and well-read and quietly passionate. I wonder still.
He was like a father to me, though I feel his scathing look at such a hoary cliché, and I always assumed we'd get together one of these days and have ourselves a chat about the old days. I looked forward to apologising for insisting that my rejection of everything related to my alma mater had to include him. Sudden illness, quick death. I fucking hate being an atheist. He hated me being an atheist too.