Closing my eyes, I imagined the scene like it would be in black and white on some movie screen. Blood on the sink, the toilet lid down. Tony, stumbling from the sink to the tub, sitting, folding over his knees. The light would be too bright for his eyes to take. Maybe a half-melted candle and a weary Roger Waters riff. I slid down the door to the clean white tile, pulling my knees to my chest.
“What are you going to do now?” he had asked me.
“School, I guess, try to write something.”
“You could be really great,” he said. He was grinning while he tried to light a candle. He’d melt the wax around the wick then peel it away with the edge of a pocketknife. Once he’d tugged the wick loose, he’d light the candle and set it down. The table next to his bed, the cabinet that held the stereo, the microwave table on which he’d set his TV and VCR, they were all covered in candles.
“What are you going to do?” I asked him.
He laughed. “Deliver pizzas. Get high. I dunno.”
It was the day after the X Games qualifier, when I’d finished ninth and lost my sponsor and wasn’t going to have a career riding my skateboard. I had failed.
“Come to California with me. I’ll do school. We’ll get a place. You can work out there same as here. It’ll be good.”
He laughed. “Nah, California’s not for me. Plus Mac and Rhonda would lose their shit if I talked about going that far away. Rhonda’s got a new shrink she wants me to see. Says he’ll prescribe something for my headaches.” He was working on another candle now. The daylight had faded out of the window and evening was coming.
“Medication?” I asked. “You think you need it?”
He shrugged. “Couldn’t hurt.” The flame caught on the candle and he set it away from himself. The light gave his features some demon-like shadows that played and then disappeared. He looked up at me and smiled.
“Don’t worry about me,” he had said. “I’ll figure something out.”
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