By Larry Faulkner
Sitting in class is not the best time to think about personal matters -- especially in college. Sometimes, however, these thoughts are so self-consuming that is can't be helped. There is really nothing you can do except to try to bear it.
That's my problem. I could be listening to my professor lecturing on the human brain. I mean, I should be engrossed in the talk about the occipital lobe and the optic nerve; but no...I have to be thinking of myself.
Or, more specifically, Bo.
Well, I guess I do have an excuse. Not everyone is really keen after his best friend commits suicide. In fact, I'm sure I'm not weird or anything for still mourning him. It's only been three months.
We were so happy.
Of course, I was the one to find the body. That image will always be burned into my mind. I remember walking into the auditorium of our high school feeling the cold air rush past me and seeing only the stage lights on.
The stage lights. One of my drama teachers said that the stage lights show everything. How right. I will always remember Bo's body, hung by the neck from the catwalk above, his face just starting to turn purple as the form slightly swayed from some unfelt breeze.
I threw up on the spot.
About an hour later, they found someone to cut his body down. They did it as if he were made of glass. Of course, they were probably not scared of breaking him more than the fact that there was a dead guy staring them in the face.
I remember the good times we had. Such good times.
The administration didn't want to hold graduation. It's kind of silly when the Salutatorian kills himself a week before the ceremony. But the school board would have nothing doing. I guess they wanted to get the year over with.
He left a note. It really didn't say anything, like why he did it, or how he suffered inside. It didn't say that he felt that he was a failure at life or anything like that. It only said one thing.
"Tell Larry goodbye."
Yep, that's me. How would you like to be the only one mentioned in your best friend's suicide note? I thought it was horrid.
I still don't understand why Bo did it. His life was so much better than anybody else's. Bo was a total package. He was captain of the wrestling team. He had a very high IQ. He could cheer people up and make them laugh. He was popular. He was so handsome that he could have had any girl in school.
Why did he choose to mention me in the note? Why did he ever choose to hang out with me? He was the most popular guy in school. I was anything but popular. He could, and did, pick and choose his friends. Why me?
Bo did like my acting. We were both in Drama. He was an electric actor--one with real stage presence. Up against him, I thought I was, at best, mediocre. I'll never forget the first play we were cast in together. We played several scenes with each other. One was this particularly nasty argument scene. I let all my emotions go into my dialogue and let it rip.
After practice, he came up to me and said, "You have some real emotions there, Larry. I've never seen someone with that kind of...technique."
"Thank you, Bo." I was puzzled.
"You know," he said, "for such powerful emotion, you sure are a...if I may say it...quiet and, well, somewhat meek person."
I laughed quietly. "Was that a compliment?"
"That didn't come out right. I'm sorry. It's just...you didn't look like you had it in you."
I just remember smiling.
And that's what started it. Bo and I got rave reviews for those roles our sophomore year, as we would for almost every role we played opposite each other. Sometimes I thought that the director would pick plays with us in mind. Bo and I lived for the theatre. We spent more time in the auditorium than anywhere else in the school.
Where we kissed for the first time.
It's kind of fitting that Bo hung himself in the auditorium. He practically lived in the auditorium. He would go in there on his free hours and study. He would go in there with his other friends and play stupid games or just enjoy a soda. He would sometimes sneak a girl in there during a dance. His favorite story to tell me was how he lost his virginity to Stacy Mallard center stage with the spotlight on. That was Bo.
And I was Larry.
Larry, who loved Bo.
I felt so inadequate next to Bo. He was 6'3", a muscular 190 pounds, short brown hair, and striking green eyes. He was handsome, outgoing and popular. I was 6'3", a flabby 230, short brown hair and brown eyes hidden behind thick glasses. I was ugly, shy, and beaten down by years of teasing. Yet, he was still my friend--my best friend. And I was his. His other friends couldn't figure out why he hung out with me. I couldn't either.
I remember his body next to mine. So warm.
He tried to get me into his circle of friends. He did everything to make me friends with everyone else, but it didn't happen. I'm glad that he decided to be my friend. I think he saw that I needed a friend more than anything. I don't think he was taking pity on me, though. Bo wouldn't do that.
I remember him crying when we made love.
Crying when I said, "I love you."
His parents wanted me to help them go through Bo's stuff with them. They said that if I wanted anything of Bo's to remember him by, or just to have, I could have it.
I only took one thing.
A picture of me and Bo.
When we were happy.
And I realize why Bo did it.
We were too happy.