Monday, September 10, 2012

the past

The skilled writer in me desperately wants to edit this thing I wrote for my college newspaper nearly 15 years ago. The smart part of my brain knows to leave it alone to see how far I've come. I do like parts of it. The parts about my friend were pretty accurate. So, dredging up from the past....

Originally published for the Eastern Echo:

Suicide is a strange thing. I don't understand the decision to be done with life. It seems like there's always just one more thing I want to do or one more thing I have to see.
I want people to know what it's like from a friend's point of view after a suicide. I just want people to stop and think first, about themselves and about others, and see if suicide is really the only answer - because it probably isn't.
My friend Erik Widmark committed suicide about a year ago. It was rumored that he shot himself in the head with a shotgun in the parking lot of the Ferndale police department. No one really tried to find out if it was true or not.
I met Erik wile working at Marco's Pizza on the North Side of Ann Arbor. He was a little bit creepy, a little strange, entirely nice and pretty darn funny. On many occasions, he, my friend Alex and I would sit around Marco's and make fun of our customers and drink until the wee hours of the morning. Erik would bring in some raspberry wine that he was so skilled at making, or honey mead or this gross fish-goo-in-a-tube that he would try to get people to eat.
We always had a good time. We didn't really see his suicide coming - I guess.
I remember Erik said once that he didn't want to live to be 30. I just brushed the comment off and forgot about it. Erik would have been 30 Aug. 31.
For a year, Erik and I worked about 30 hours a week together, laughing and joking. Sunday nights were always the best because Erik and I would always close and it was always slow so we could listen to Big Sonic Heaven on 96.3. It became a tradition, really. Every Sunday night was Big Sonic Heaven night.
Sure, Erik was a friend, a co-worker and we hung out at my house once or twice. Even so, I suppose I didn't know him all that well. He was quiet about who he was. He pretty much kept to himself.
Alex and I found out later that he had a pretty rough past.
The night before he killed himself, Eric called Marco's pizza and talked to Alex for a long time. He wanted Alex to tell me goodbye and tell me that I had always been a food friend. He asked Alex to give messages to other people and to deposit his last paycheck. Alex tried to convince Erik that he would give those people the messages himself. Erik said that he was done, and that it was time to go and that if he didn't show up to work on Sunday by 6pm then he was gone.
Erik never showed up to work the next day.
Alex and I heard the news Monday morning from his distraught roommate. A memorial was to be held the next Saturday to remember his life, not his death.
After Erik was gone, Marco's just wasn't the same anymore. Alex and I both found new jobs and haven't had the privilege of knowing anyone else as quirky as Erik.
We both still talk about him from time to time. It was a confusing, sad end to a good person. All his friends will continue to miss him.