His face appeared before the music did; young, incredibly handsome with a silent grin. Standing around the computer, there were five of us watching the video clip. It was my first time, it was their hundredth maybe thousandth viewing. We’d been talking and laughing but as the clip started the room fell quiet.
I heard a deep inhale and the words ‘oh god, just look at him’ coming from the mouth of Jack , the only one who was seated. The way he said it can’t be explained in words, I tear up just remembering. He had loved him. He had outlived him.
Together they’d been crazy youths, living the rock n roll lifestyle. One was dead and the other was dying. He’d been drinking since before I woke up and I watched as he wiped tears from his eyes. As the clip came to a close four of us headed outside while Jack stared at the paused image of his friend.
After a little while he came out carrying a bunch of pies, he had his favourite meat pie and mushy peas. One of the others at the table went to put their pie down on the black book that Jack had with him.
“Careful there, my sister gave me that book, I’ve had it with me every day for almost thirty years”.
The others laughed, it was a running joke in their group he’d die with it in his hand. I asked if I could look at it and he slid it across the table with a nod.
“There’s some awful scratched out names in that book” Jack said through a mouthful of pie.
It was an address book. Looking down the list of names and numbers a tinge of excitement ran through me as I recognized some of these people. People I admired, that had and were pillars of the underground music scene, and the list painted a picture of what thirty years of hard living will do.
“Those scratched out names it’s either fuck off, dead, dead, he’s a cunt, dead” Jack said excitedly.
Next to one I saw ‘see ya you bastard!’ and a little cross.
“What did this guy do?” I asked.
I slid the book over and pointed to the name, and Jack’s face turned sad again.
“That was the guy we were just watching inside”.
He’d died of an overdose the year before and I don’t think Jack could forgive him.