Everything happened as I just told you. We were working on the project, all of us. Neil was in the other room fetching coffee, Nick and I were focused on how and when to do it. All of a sudden, we hear this very strange noise, like a doorbell. But heavier. Almost like a toll, you know? For a second I thought of Undertaker. You know Undertaker? He’s an old WWF wrestler, everybody used to think he was some sort of a zombie, and he would come out on that death tune, you know which one, right? Right. So that noise breaks out, and we hear something breaking on the ground. I think it’s Neil and the coffee cup. He’s one clumsy dude, you know? So I just figure. Nick and I keep on working and suddenly we hear him speak behind us. For that I have to apologize, I can’t exactly quote what he said. I was never able to, tragic flaw of mine most teachers said when I was young. But that’s the way my brain works, you know?
So he walks in on us, going all “working hard I see”. Nick and I turn around and, I’ve got to admit, I’m a little surprised to see him there. And pissed too. I mean, you’ve got to understand, by that point we’d been working for months and him, he wasn’t doing anything. Just sitting on his hands waiting for some godly intervention, a sign, or whatever the fuck you want to call it. Sorry. Didn’t mean to disrespect or anything. I get carried away sometimes – another tragic flaw they said. A kid with a temper. I always rocked their world, you know? So he walks in, and I ask him like, what are you doing here? You can’t be here, you don’t work here. We don’t wanna see you, or talk to you. I say things straight, like they are. There are too many people out there not saying what they mean or meaning what they say, it’s just plain irritating. To me, there’s only one truth, and you gotta tell it like is, no matter what. He doesn’t react, doesn’t cringe, doesn’t flinch, nothing. All he does is stay there, and look at us. Nick stands up and asks him if he heard what I said, adds that we’re not friends anymore, that we can’t stand dudes who ride coattails, you know?
He looks at Nick, then at me, then smiles. There’s an awkward silence, like the ones you get when you go to cemetaries? Does that make sense? Nobody says a word for a good two minutes and then he opens his mouth and that’s when all hell broke loose. We’ve never been friends, he said, never truly at least. You’ve never supported me the way real friends do, all that you’ve done over the years is judge me and judge other people based upon your own life experience. That is bullshit, he said. And the thing is, he wasn’t even mad when saying all this. He was just ranting on a normal tone, you know? Quite scary. You let me down, multiple times, he said, and as I hoped that one day you would see that no matter different my dreams are, they were worth chasing after just like yours are. I tried to ask, what dreams, but couldn’t even finish my sentence. He went on and on about how, painting, or about how art in general, should be what people should really dive into. Not making tons of money, not being a huge and legally accepted con, not stepping on other people. He’s always been an idealist that way, but in life, there’s always things you need to understand, things you need to do to survive. He never got that. I looked at Nick for a second and he was as taken aback as I was. We couldn’t say a word.
He says that since he cannot count on us, since we have been letting him down since day one, he is going for a change of scenery. And I’m thinking, thank god, this lunatic is finally out of our lives, you know? You’ve got to understand that, as much as we used to be friends way back when, rants like this one had become some sort of a habit for him. He never really appreciated what he got, and that, to me, is a real shame. A real shame. You’d think that an artistic person would stop and contemplate what’s around him. He never did. He keeps talking about new beginnings, and he mentions that he’s got to find what he was looking for. Find the sublime in life, he said. That really stuck with me; the sublime. I thought about it for a second, and then he added something along the lines of needing to find beauty in something dark, twisted even. By that point, the atmosphere in the room had completely changed. Nick and I couldn’t move or speak, we were like frozen spectators of what would turn out to be a sublime performance. As he finished his sentence, he drew out a gun. I felt sick to my stomach; it was the first time I’d seen a gun, a real one that is. I fully expected him to shoot us, right there, as we stood in front of him, two beautifully framed victims, exposed to the elements. He raised the gun and his hand shook a little bit, I can remember that quite clearly, picture that quite clearly. My knees where shaking in the same way. I thought I was about to collapse, to fall down and pass out, and I’m pretty damn sure Nick felt the same way. He looked at us for another second, and said, thank you. Then he shot himself in the head.
The gunshot and the body falling down to the ground made a series of strange noises that I will never forget, I can tell you that much. I know you don’t need that much detail, but let me tell you this : the amount of blood pouring out of that hole was truly disturbing. I felt sick and I felt nauseous and terrible but I couldn’t do anything but watch it flow. It went out and out and out until my shoes were soaked, and nothing in the room was the same anymore. The floor, the tables, the chairs, the air. Everything was blood. And yet everything was strangely peaceful. Is that sublime, I remember asking myself. Probably not. Certainly not. Sublime is just a word. A great brand, tops. Nothing more. I looked at Nick looking at him, then looking at the wall. There was blood on the wall. Not in the way you’d imagine it. Imagination also has its limits. There was blood on the wall and it made up a strange shape – like a heart, you know? And I’m not talking about the common design of a heart, no – I’m talking about the organ. There was a bloody heart on the wall in front of us, and as neither one of us could move, I thought about how weird it was that death could hint at life that much. Mock it, embrace it. And you know, somehow, there was some beauty to it. Like a painting, a strange and odd painting. But still.
It’s almost as if he left something totally, completely, peacefully intact behind him. Sublime, even.