Burn After Reading

I had two unopened emails from a little over a year ago. The last things my old friend ever wrote to me, sitting in bold black type with no subject line. I didn’t open them at the time because I didn’t want to hear more bullshit, or drunken foolishness, or nastiness or insanity. I had my fill of it all and couldn’t take any more. Then it went on too long, and he had gone and there they were sitting, unopened, the last little bits of him that were still alive. I thought as long as I didn’t open them I still had a little bit left of my friend, that existed in permanent stasis, in suspended animation, and so I kept a little piece of him alive.

Yesterday I tracked back through my emails and saw them sitting there accusingly. They demanded I opened them, and allowed him to rest, and besides I was curious. Perhaps they were sweet messages, kind messages, lovely last words saying nice things that would make me feel better. Perhaps it was something important, or decent, or good. Maybe they would allow me to be less angry with the bastard and a little more forgiving. So I opened them. I wish I hadn’t.

The first one said: “Prima Doncha. Like a fine cut of hedgehog. Stinky.” I sighed. This was the shit I didn’t want to read over a year ago. This was the tiringly dull stuff that masqueraded in his mind as clever, but was just more drunken bullshit, just another useless nonsensical mélange of words. I speak pretentious angry drunk quite well. What he meant was he considered me a ‘prima donna’, high maintenance and imperious, a diva. It was one of his favorite insults, to pretend that I am some stuck up princess, just the kind of woman I detest, sometimes unreasonably. I bristled like the hedgehog he insulted me with. The second part was mocking my short spikey hair. The third was calling me ‘stinky’, saying I stank, my attitude stank, and my hair was terrible. I laughed. I sat and laughed until I cried. Of course. I am the unreasonable one, the difficult one, the prima donna with a bad attitude and worse hair. I ended up rolling over onto the bed gulping down air as I failed to get enough of it into my lungs, and tears ran down my face.

I was all in now. All in to the workings of a fucked up, demented, disloyal, unkind, ethanol sodden, soggy booze soaked brain that used to be intelligent, if not particularly kind, and always overbearing to a fault. The second email was shorter. It said including spelling errors: “

.. stop acting like like

– Nancy Reagonzapp

Ah. This was even funnier. The man who had let me down, who had used up all my kindness, been acting like a total insane piece of shit, and whose actions had forced me to have to talk to the fucking cops, while he was out of his mind on crack, meth, dmt, lsd, booze and fuck knows what else was suggesting I was acting like she of ‘just say no’ fame, the gloriously staid and stolid Nancy Regan. Me. I don’t ever ask for anyone else’s crutch, and ask that they never enquire too deeply after mine. I support safe supply and harm reduction. All I ask if if someone drinks to excess or does drugs around me that they handle their shit and don’t chase me around with knives, shit covered paws, or any other dangerous objects or actions. In short, get high, hang out, no problem, but don’t make your thing my fucking issue. But ok, yeah honey, I am nancy fucking reagonzapp. Where the zapp came from I don’t know. It must have seemed cute to his crack addled mind.

Then I noticed there was another bit tacked onto the bottom of the email. It said:

It sounds like i did exactly as You asked.
Your Welcome

-i hope You have a nice sleep
safe and sound ........

Your friends
~Mr. Asshole

My email below was begging him to get sober and get his shit together. He was lying. Clearly not sober. Clearly not trying and clearly determined to exit the planet. “Friends”…well he was always split between being my best friend and my worst enemy, the worst case of split personality I have ever seen that landed just short of schizophrenia most of the time, LSD notwithstanding. . I pressed the reply button. “I hope you are having a nice sleep too. Safe and sound. But I never asked you to do anything other than be reasonable and not destroy yourself.” Then I deleted it instead of sending and let him go. I let him go with my hedgehog hair and my bad attitude and my prima donna demands and my unfair dictatorial orders. I let him go with his drugs and his wine and his rum. I let him go to sleep. I let him go.

I remembered seeing him for the very first time. My best friend. Leather wrapped around his arm and sunglasses pushed up his nose, the little round ones with the green lenses, and that chain that hung from his belt loop and his attitude dripping off his bones along with the liquor. I remembered him for the fun we had, for the wild we were, for the times he saved me…and the times he almost destroyed me. Then I forgot. I put him away and mourned not him, but the loss of one of the only people that truly cared to know me, even if he didn’t like me very much in the end. He used to say to me, “I like you very well, sweetheart.” I used to laugh at the anachronistic phrasing and tell him, “I like you very well too, asshole.” Then we would walk off down the road and go sit in a bar, or a park or some trailer with some people I really didn’t like very well at all. Then he would be my guard dog, and pretend that I was tougher than I was just to make me smile.

I realized I didn’t miss him. He left the building years before his body did. I realized I missed who he used to be. I missed him being my sidekick. I missed having a friend that didn’t try and fuck me, but seemed to enjoy my company. I miss having someone to go sit in a bar with and talk about Little Stevie Miller, or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins or why I fucking hate The Who. I miss someone to play guitar to. I miss my friend.

I am the kind of person that rips off bandaids, and deleted emails instead of keeps them. I let stuff go, instead of hoarding it to me. It hurts too much to look at. So I pressed delete and then regretted it immediately. Now he is truly gone, insults and unreasonable behavior and lashing out at me and all. Gone. I won’t ever see another friend like that, I fear. The world has got too cold and too remote to ever make a connection like that again. Stinky. Like a fine cut of hedgehog. Prima Donna and Nancy R. was going a bit too far though. I will catch up with him by and by and when I do he is gonna hear it from me. He always was such an asshole.

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