Those of you who have been to my bar know what kind of a family we all are, those of us who spend any amount of time there. It's like...an aunt's family room, shag carpets and old televisions and sofas extremely low to the ground. 81 feels like that even though it looks absolutely nothing like that.
I worked a 10 hour shift on Friday. I felt good (though extremely tired) and I had money burning a hole in my pocket. I got off of work 'round 10:30ish and headed down to 81 to meet up with some people I hadn't been able to afford to hang out with (liquor's mighty expensive) and to maybe get laid.
I walked through the door and found Jeff, one of my partners in crime from the place. He was sitting at the bar, eyes kinda unfocused. I thought he was drunk; I was wrong.
"Mark's dead," he said, and went back to his contemplation.
Mark was this dude, a guitar player, who usually ended his nights at 81. One time at the Cherry Tavern, he tried to get me to join his band. He wore extremely ugly hawaiian shirts, had long curly hair and a goatee, sorta. We were friends. No. We were friendly.
He was 27.
Apparently, he had come home late one night last week with groceries. He was belligerent and nonsensical and his head was bleeding. His girlfriend assumed he'd gotten drunk (like he did) and gotten into a fight (like he also, frequently, did) so she put him to bed to sleep it off.
Turns out, we all found out later, he was sober that night and was hit by a car, a car that didn't stop. He didn't wake up in the morning and she called the hospital. He never woke up. Was in a coma for three days and died (relatively) peacefully on Friday afternoon.
I count myself extremely thankful that I don't have to go through the grief (and more importantly, the undeserved guilt) of being her.
So my night of rampant partying became a good old-fashioned Irish wake that left me broke, exhausted and confused as to which was day and which was night. And I feel really, really awful. And I want a hug, 'cuz all I'm thinking over and over is 'oh god. He was 27. So fucking young. Nobody deserves that.'