As they lowered the casket down - on ropes by real people, rather than on these electric rigs - I caught his sister's eye. To my surprise, a flicker of a smile sparked in her eyes, if but briefly.

In what only could be described as a phenomenal miscalculation of cause and effect, I had watched him take half a pace - nay, a quarter of one - back, before launching his body forward.

The cause is a bit fuzzy, but the effect was very much one of gravity doing what it has been known to dabble in for most of documented history: pulling him towards earth, as it rapidly and with increasing certainty became clear that there was no way he was going to make the jump.

It wasn't that far, and the drop wasn't even that dramatic, but in an attempt to live up to his Parkour heroes, he deemed a running start - or even a cursory calculation of distance - to be the first step towards ridicule.

He'd never have gotten far by hanging behind, we used to joke, especially on the occasions that he found himself dangling, semi-helplessly, off the side of a building, yet again. The phrase 'he'll never learn' fell short in the implication that he would want to do so in the first place.

We all knew why, but wouldn't - hell, couldn't - say it out loud. He'd been living with a death wish the past couple of months. But as his life faded from his eyes, at first gradually, then faster and faster, I realised that he died with a life-wish.

Just like Joey, we laughed ruefully later on. Just like Joey, even in death, to wish for the polar opposite of what was available to him.

I never told anyone, but I'm jealous.



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