He trusted me so much. After that night where I offered to help him keep his job, he not only trusted me, but he went far out of his way to let others know I was the only one he trusted. Only Joy is allowed to drive my car. Only Joy can come inside when I go by my house. Only Joy and I are going to go there together, we will meet you guys later.
He had confided in me that Claudia was getting on his nerves really bad. Claudia lived in Tinker Creek, the same apartment complex I was waiting on a slot in. We stayed there, him and I, and even Susan sometimes, for most of that years winter. It was 1993. Thats hard to type. That was over 10 years ago, and here I am, no closer to learning what my friend died for, or why things played out like they did, or why I felt so weak and responsible for his death.
I guess I still remember it like the 19 year old girl in me did. We were talking about relationships, very candidly, as always. And he told me he wanted Claudia to step back a little bit, but that he never had the balls to tell girls stuff like that. He didnt, he never wanted to hurt anyone really, not even just a little bit. So in our screwed up heads we decided that if he had a big hickey on his neck next time he seen her she might get the point. Laughing like the 9 and 10 year old on the couch who wanted to try out kissing, I remember giving him those hickeys, big ass obnoxious ones of course. As if he had been locked up with a mechanized hickey machine instead of a human being... the next day him and I had to go pick her up from somewhere.....
I remember sitting in the back seat, feeling awful but trying hard not to laugh at the same time... the girl was a nagging bitch. Lol. But it was still hard to listen to her rage about some "whore" who he was messing with when I sat there knowing he was only trying to escape one. It was one of those hilariously funny moments that you could only share with one other human being. The rest of the world would call you cruel or sick for it but we were very normal in our need to free him from her.
We spent a lot of those nights at Claudias with her kids, her dad Claude, her brother Billy.. who dated Susan briefly, and sometimes Bobby. (wow these names sound redneck lol) Played drinking games, sat outside relaxing... pretty much the only things you can do when you live in housing projects. It seems like I remember going home for one night around in there. I know I was away from Claudias for one night. The night I was gone Steve and Bobby had apparently went near Joe somewhere. Joe was Bobbys cousin and somewhat of an unwanted person in our crowd. He was referred to as a narc and oddly had some rat like features, I think he was called Weasel, how appropriate, so much that he ended up having a weasel tattoo'd on his arm. Well apparently Steve had said something to Joe that he didnt like. So Joe and him fought quite a bit from what I hear. And Steve ended up with about 3 or 4 stitches in his eyebrow, and one in his lower lip halfway to his chin. Joe was a dirty bastard and Steve was like 5 foot 3, maybe 120 lbs, so there was pretty much no other end available for that. Odd how things like that dont happen around me usually or something prevents me from being involved. Which I would be. Maybe something somewhere is trying desperately to save my tired ass. I cant stand the injustice remember? Well I truly cant. If I see it, I must do what I can to stop it. I'm pretty sure as I sit here that my chances of dying over something exactly like that are high.
After a bit of Joe verbal bashing the night following the fight. Steve, Claudia, Susan and I were sitting around in the living room. Susan asked me to read Steves cards. I cant remember if it was something playful about when Steve was going to get to kick Joes ass or something but I agreed to get them out. I dont know if I will ever say that the Tarot was anything but a medium to me. I will likely never believe the cards have some innate power of their own and arent totally subject to the user who wields them. But they did show me things, they always had. When things are shown so clearly to a person, clear, cut and dried and factual to a tee, they get uncomfortable. They also blame you kill the messenger style. It was fair to say that most of my friends took the cards seriously. Some even refused readings after an initial one where some of their private thoughts became public through my view of them through the cards. But no one took them as a joke. The readings at the time were celtic cross style and a query to the reader. Meaning, the person who was getting the reading asked a question, silently or even shared with anyone in the room but the reader of the cards. Whereas the reader would then interpret the cards through phases of the persons life, past, present or future.
I remember that smile. The sly one that you get when you have very distinct native american features like high cheekbones, narrow eyes, white teeth and long thick brown hair. I remember the laugh inside of his smile as I laid out those cards. Each card worse then the last. Each one indicating an end to things as we knew it. Steve was outright laughing at our seriousness in regarding the cards. As I finished up the reading, skipping over a lot of things and being a lot annoyed with his laughter at such an ugly read, I did my usual ritual with those cards, put them together, put them in their tiny box, put the box away in my other belongings and looked right at him "What did you ask?". I always got to ask afterwards, it was a good way in which to judge my accuracy. At one time I figured that I was around 86% accurate in overall aspect of the reading. That is not a low number.
"I asked if I was going to hell when I died". He said. Susan and I just stared at him. She had been with me at parties where I read those cards for friends of hers, she had known forever, I had known 5 minutes and was telling them things about their lives only the closest to them knew. I used to read them regularly.... before that day.
"What the hell?? Why would you ask that???" I dont remember if it was Susan or I first who asked. He just told us we were silly women and to get over it. Laughed at us a lot probably. Probably had us laughing at ourselves. Somehow, we both really just accepted it as that. I dont think either of us was totally comfortable with it, but not so uncomfortable we mentioned it again.
We had no idea he would die 3 nights later.