To this very moment as clearly as I remember parts of that night I still cant remember exactly how I got to Genes house. He was an old friend, one of the original gang of kids who grew up together around 24019. He was also Susans x-boyfriend. So still, I have no idea why I went there, or any real memory of why I was there... well besides that one thing...
I do remember the hard knock at the door, at around midnight. Gene jumped up and told me to get myself together and I remember Cathy coming into the room and her eyes looking for me around the room. It was kind of dark in there. When she spotted me I could see the pain in her eyes. I remember her saying "Its Steve, come with me"
I dont remember running out of there, or even the trip from Genes to Claudias. I knew before I got there that Steve was dead. Pulling into the parking lot at Tinker Creek it became screamingly obvious something was horrible. Several cop cars were parked outside of Claudias. I ran in so fast that I startled the officer who was standing and talking to Claudia and Claude. He became an immediate asshole and asked Claudia who I was. "Steves best friend" she said. They pinned me down staring at me. Something was so wrong. They were very harsh. Very rude to us all. Billy and Steve were both dead. And the cops were mad as hell.
"Are you going to go tell his grandparents Ms. Basham?" What? They were asking me to go tell his gramma and aunt? No, they werent asking. They were taunting, hurting us because Billy had been driving Steves car, very drunk, at 130 miles per hour, and jumped the interstate median, flew across the concrete barrier there, and slammed head on into another young mans car. They never did expect me to tell them. They were letting me know they didnt want to have to either, but somehow we should feel worse that our friends killed someone elses. We did. I did anyway. I can only hope that one day when Im old and dying that I can forgive Billy. But I have an idea that I wont. Wow, so hard to believe I held much innocence after having a child at age 15. But I did, right up until that moment.
I remember running out of the apartment with Cathy and a handful of quarters, headed to the payphone. I was driven to call a few others that we had grown up with, Brian, Chris, and a couple of others to let them know he was gone. Someone had to besides these asshole cops.
I have no idea how long I was awake that night. Or when I went home, or when I slept. Nothing. The moments right before Cathy and I left Genes, the moments after I arrived there, right up until I went to the phone. The rest is pretty black and empty.
I wont ever forget the dream I had when I finally slept either. I dreamed of a hazy area of the street, weird that it was on Wonju Street or near the exit there at Colonial Avenue. Because at that time I had very little idea where he had actually wrecked besides Interstate 581. But in my dream I was walking up Wonju in the haze. And I approached Steve who was standing there in one of his old black t-shirts. Smoking a cigarette in the way that I only seen him do. Hand cupped under, kinda weird I guess you would have to see it. But he was smiling at me. That same wiley grin he gave me that night I read those cards. I can still grab that picture from my brain. If I was a good artist I could paint it and Im betting it would look exactly how that street down there below I-581 looks like. Wonju. He didnt speak and neither did I. And then I was lurched out of the dream.
"And Im lost, behind. The words Ill never find. And Im left. Behind. As the seasons roll on by"