Gerry couldn’t sleep. Why? People who can’t sleep their minds can’t stop asking them questions. Questions they can’t answer but they can’t say: stop asking. Or they don’t want to.
In Gerry’s case the question was — what happened to Mickey in the last moments before Mickey died. The detective did not answer questions like that. Gerry was embarrassed to ask. But then when they were wrapping things up after the trial, Gerry asked the detective. The detective said: Yeah I’m not going to answer.
Not going to answer? Why not? Cause it was too…too horrible? The way Mickey had died, the way they had killed Mickey? Or something else? Not I shouldn’t answer but I’m not going to answer.
Gerry’s marriage ended. How couldn’t it? There were questions Gerry had to ask that nobody else could answer. But if what you really want is an answer to a question and the other person can’t give it, doesn’t it make what else they have to give, seem like it’s not worth keeping?
Even if you think you shouldn’t be the sort of person who thinks things like “what a person has to give you is not worth keeping” you might discover that you are that sort of person, and that’s what Gerry discovered. Same for “even if you think you don’t drink”.
J entered Gerry’s life then. How? By a ping on social media and then a meeting in real life. Gerry knew J from the news reports and the trial. J said J had been there with Mickey in Mickey’s last moments. J came over for dinner and after dinner J told the story. J stayed the night and never went home. Gerry would hear J tell the story when they were together. Mickey was gone, but Mickey was also there, when they were in bed together and Gerry was looking in J’s eyes and J was telling the story of Mickey’s last moment.
Maybe a life is like a cheese or a cake — one piece of it has the flavor of the whole — and maybe that means the last moment is the whole life? Not sure, thought Gerry, not sure. But maybe. Maybe was enough to sleep.
Mickey had not been brave like in a movie, but Mickey had been beautiful. Mickey’s last moment was beautiful. Mickey’s life had ended maybe better than Gerry’s would, some day, in the hospital with the tubes. Gerry could believe Mickey was a beautiful soul. Gerry could believe not that it all made sense in some hallmark movie sense of all made sense but, maybe some sense in which it didn’t make you stupid or a sucker to say maybe it made sense.
The detective sent Gerry an email and a request to meet for coffee. Gerry got there early and order a Frappucino and waited for the detective who got there late. The detective said look I’m not good at making small talk and maybe I shouldn’t get involved. They all said to me I shouldn’t get involved but it just didn’t feel right. What? asked Gerry. I think you ought to know about J. What ought I to know about J asked Gerry
The detective told Gerry the story of what had actually happened. What had happened with Mickey had not been beautiful at all, and J had made it happen so it didn’t happen to J.
I just wanted to be close to you, J said to Gerry later. I wanted to be close to Mickey and when I couldn’t be close to Mickey I thought I would find you and I would be close to you.
You wanted Mickey to forgive you? Gerry asked J.
You want me to forgive you?
Gerry sent J out of the house but then Gerry went out of the house as well and got in the car and drove down the highway. God it was dark, God the upcoming headlights were blinding, God my head hurts, how my head hurts, thought Gerry, God how it hurts.