I did not murder my friend. This is what happened the Sunday morning I found him dead in my apartment. I had gone to sleep in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Months ago I had resolved not to be guilt tripped into staying awake to keep him company for days of no sleep at all. I didn’t do ice (crystal meth) the way he did. I was used to waking up and calling out to bring him to my side. He would pause the porn and join me to help me up, just like he always tucked me in before I fell asleep. Once I was situated he’d go back to his porn.
I was not alarmed to wake up in the bed, alone. Nor was I worried to find his phone beside me bc he preferred to watch porn using my tablet with its larger screen. I thought I knew the good Sunday that stretched out In front of me. In this day and age no one departs without his phone. My friend was still here after a week of ignoring me or being verbally abusive he had cycled back to being nicer than anyone had ever been to me. I loved these times. I lived for them. In my last moments of pure happiness, I got up to look for him. I called his name and walked the few steps it took to reach the other end of my one bedroom apartment, unburdened by any premonition of imminent horror.
I found him sitting on the kitchen floor, propped against the wall. His legs looked uncomfortably folded beneath him. I used his phone to call 911 and pulled his legs, one by one from beneath him. His half lifted eyes didn’t blink he didn’t change expression. I never took my eyes off of him after I dialed 911 and never would until his body was removed. I got through to an operator remarkably fast. During the brief wait I breathed into his mouth because his lips were purple. As soon as I did his lips grew pink. Surely there must be blood circulation..? I told The operator about his lips pinking up. The operator told me to keep breathing for him. The next breath I gave him went in, and came out, not exactly like an exhale but bc there was nowhere for the air to go. The air passed over his vocal chords and he made a humming sound. The air smelled like rotting fruit from all the alcohol he drank at the bar. The smell of that dead air would come back on me for a month afterwards. His lips grew linker still and I thought, “Maybe,” then I shut off the mental words. The paramedics arrived and I was encouraged to see they weren’t rushing. They pulled him out of the kitchen into the living room to do CPR and I felt like a fool bc my recent training had flown away like a bird that had never landed in the first place.
There were three paramedics, two well built young men and one tiny woman even shorter than I was at 5 feet tall. They had been accompanied by one silent Honolulu police officer who noticed a mark by his tailbone. I was not aware HPD was there until the officer’s doubtlessly intense scrutiny of the overall scene narrowed to one specific focus. Sharply, the officer said “Look he’s got an injury.” One paramedic was half dragging half carrying him by hooking his own forearms under my friends arm pits and the other paramedic had him by the ankles. They immediately stopped as if on cue and they both looked at his tailbone by shifting his body up and to the left. We never wore clothes so it was easy for them to do a visual assessment. I had thrown on a t shirt and shorts to let the paramedics in. It hadn’t occurred to me to dress my friend especially since he preferred to be sans clothing. He was quite proud of his attributes and later, much much later, I would imagine that my friend would have said it was the paramedics’ lucky day. But gallows humor does not show up until the gallows have been out of site for a while and the terrible time can be regarded as in the past. In the moment when everything commonplace seems unreal, I thought nothing of his nudity.
I felt the vibe in the room shift, briefly, from serious concern to something less…I don’t have a word. Something less even, less sure. The feeling was one of the interjection of a sudden serious, as yet undefined, problem that changes the situation from a well understood medical emergency to a situation that is more uncertain and no longer sympathetic. As the paramedics concluded their brief examination and set my friend on the floor for. CPR the policeman moved closer to me, into my line of sight. I was never unaware of the police presence in my home again…To be continued