Green Room II
Chapter 49

When I read G's comments, my blood boiled. Turn my back on Kyle? How dare you say that to me. Is it because I missed a day that some fucker decided was Kyle's time? Huh? I don't need a November 3 to remind me of Kyle. There's not a day that passes without my thinking of Kyle, and it tears my heart every time. So you can take your November 3 and stick it up your ass.

I don't see the point of celebrating the death of a person who was so full of life. And, yeah, I'm self-absorbed; I spent my whole life thinking of ways to screw Kyle over in order to benefit from it. So you're disappointed but not surprised? Join the fucking crowd.

Just for your info, I don't need to wait until November 3 rolls around again. I honor Kyle every single day by thinking about him for a second, a minute or an hour. If I decide to leave the planet every November 3, that will be in his honor too, because I'll celebrate his life.

Maybe you and Melanie and Brett and others will disagree. Tough. I'm getting the real drift of your mail as well. You re-read Kyle's mail to make it appear that I treated my mate like a prick all my life. That's not true, I loved him more than a brother.

I just read your mail for a third time and I'm trying to fathom it. I can't believe some of the stuff you wrote. It's as if you looked for an excuse to express everything you bottled up over the past year. How's this for an idea? You and my dad can get together and compare notes, because he doesn't know half the shit you know about me. Actually, I don't give a fuck about that anyway.

One last thing, G, don't assume you know how much respect I show Kyle. Just keep assuming that I'm self-absorbed and manipulative.

I have a very vivid memory of November 3. A few hours earlier on November 2, he phoned: "Come on, Stuart. Let's party! It's gonna be a total blast, then you can sleep over at my place." But I was too self-absorbed and had other plans that night.

You seem to forget where I got my information, Stuart. It wasn't second hand and it wasn't an educated guess. It was direct from you. And now you're busy interpreting what I wrote. I didn't say you needed a November 3 to remember Kyle. I said it was a Kyle day 365 days a year. I also didn't say anything about "celebrating the death of a person who was so full of life". I used the words `honor' and `respect' in relation to November 3, not `celebrate'.

Of course I was angry when I read about your being trashed on the anniversary of Kyle's accident. Of course I was disappointed. What did you expect?

You say I went through Kyle's mail to search for reasons to criticize you. How do you spell paranoia? I chose to read some of Kyle's mail on the morning of November 3 to feel his presence. I read them at random. One of them happened to mention the fight you blokes had just after you first met. It's not a conspiracy, Stuart, despite your predilection to believe the whole world is against you.

My mail sounds like an excuse to say the things I bottled up for a whole year? Where on earth did you get that idea? Since when don't I say what I think when I think it? I'm forever getting myself into shit because I speak my mind. I don't bottle anything.

It's interesting you should mention your dad and me getting together to compare notes. When I wrote my last mail I figured you'd say, "you sound just like my dad". Fact is, I don't think your dad is your worst critic, your worst critic is you. How many times have you referred to yourself as `fucked up Stuart'? But, let anyone else criticize Stuart and all hell breaks loose.

Maybe you should spend more time trying to fathom your own words instead of mine. On the one hand, you try to justify your behavior on November 3 while, on the other, you apologize for it. If I'm a little confused, whose fault is that?

You're not angry at me, Stuart. We both know who you're angry at. You're a drama queen, Stuart; a six foot, blond, tanned, muscle-bound drama queen. You can take a molehill and turn it into a mountain, no worries. However, I suspect that by now you've calmed down again.

If what I wrote means I have no respect for Kyle, or that I feel nothing for him, I'm not sure what else to say. Maybe it's best I don't. This has not been a good time for me; sweating over exams, studying. Fortunately, it'll be over soon. Then it's a case of waiting for the results after Christmas.

I feel totally drained and exhausted at the moment. Melanie and I are going through a rough patch as well because of what happened at Craig's house. She's also sweating over final exams so maybe the pressure for both of us is too much. Graham starts his exams next week, so that puts paid to the rest of November. He'll be out of touch.

I'm not too sure what will happen now. I planned to visit Brett for a while and maybe earn some cash. But the guys who work on the yacht take a break over Christmas/New Year.

Sounds like the year is ending with an anticlimax. Can't have everything, huh? Roll up the titles.

I probably shouldn't have responded to your previous mail so quickly. However, what kinda hogwash is "I feel nothing for Kyle or I have no respect for him..." I referred to one day in particular, not every day. I don't know anyone who would agree with that assessment which, by the way, is yours not mine.

There's no doubt you have a drug problem that causes you to lose the plot sometimes. You're not Robinson Crusoe in that department. None of us is the same person when under the influence of a drug. However, it's a matter of degree. As to Melanie, she knows both Stuarts but only wants one. If the Stuart she doesn't want surfaces unexpectedly what is she to believe? The irony is when the negative Stuart is rejected, the positive Stuart spits the dummy. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Is one's alter ego inseparable from one's true self or can the two be distinct? Is it possible to subdue the negative or even conquer it?

I suspect part of your problem is psychological. November 3 and its aftermath impacted on your life enormously, much worse than the impact on his folks and other friends. You convinced yourself that the anniversary of November 3 would be too much to handle. That's why you programmed yourself to seek solace in drugs that day. It wasn't a lack of feeling or respect for Kyle, it was fear.

You have conquered fear many times since I've known you. If you can conquer those fears, you can conquer anything. Our friend Brian burned a candle all day (and claimed it as a tax deduction hehehe). November 3 was not a day when the rest of us nailed ourselves to crosses. Kyle believed in simple values and I'm sure he appreciates his death being honored in a simple way.

Clint wrote that he planned to visit the lake and watch the ride roll in while he thought of Kyle. He changed his mind. What he did was better, he said. He told a few friends and his family that he loved them because THAT is what Kyle would have done.

David wrote that none of us is Kyle, but that Kyle is in all of us--and what a wonderful way to remember him.

Graham was busy with Year 10 finals and stressing big time. I spoke to him after he tackled his science paper which was one of his major headaches. On the other hand, his math mark improved greatly because his mom sent him to a private tutor. "And my marks are flying!" He sits for all his subjects in higher grade to qualify for a matriculation exemption in Year 12 for automatic acceptance into varsity.

"Hey, bro, gimme a shout if you need a hand, either at your place or mine." It was the least I could do for my special mate.
Meanwhile, Melanie and I are on a level stretch for the time being. Apart from the stress of study and exams, the snorting thing at Craig's still bothers her. I'd totally stuffed our relationship with that stupid stunt. But, hey, that's life, huh?

The goss on the grapevine is that G and I had a falling out. Where the hell did that come from? Okay, I was pissed at him for sticking a rocket up my ass and accusing me of neglecting Kyle on November 3, but... It's like the internet imitating life.

Brett isn't sure of his Christmas/New Year plans. His girlfriend talks about maybe the two of them going away for a break, which gives him the guilts about letting me down. I told him not to worry; that it was cool and I'd find something else to do.

Actually, I've got the urge to get away, to anywhere. It would be wicked to see Brett and Fingers again but I guess that can wait. Maybe I'll hitch up or down the coast and stop wherever to meet and talk with people, and give some thought to where I'm headed in life.

During the week I met an old school mate of Kyle's, a chiseled hunk of a black bloke Kyle nicknamed Jolly Jim. I'd met him only a few times at Kyle's house so it was weird that he remembered me. It was cool to bump into him--I never realized how tight he and Kyle were as mates. He had me in stitches when he related some of the old school stories, and how he often threatened to flatten Kyle because Kyle made jokes about Jim's folks attaching bricks to his tool when he was a lightie. Hahahahahaha!

I was already a varsity student when I wrote G again, and apologized for causing him to worry about me. Yes, it's me and I'm still clean! Cool, huh?

Varsity is going well, and my marks are reasonable. I could do better if I partied less. Melanie and I are pretty tight now. I even menaced a guy who tried to touch her up on the dance floor. He backed off--probably because he saw the fire in my eyes.

Graham and I are still good mates but, bloody hell, his testosterone levels are as bad as Brett's. On a percentage scale I'd say he's aggro and ready for a blue 70% of the time. He's still going with that bitch (yeah, that's how I feel about her now) and still pisses off his mates. Joe, who still speaks to me, tells me how they can't handle Graham's hostile `tude.

Craig and I were at it again but I backed off before he could damage me. He was loud and arrogant at the pub. One of my mates shouted `shut the fuck up'. So Craig rocks over and asks me if I'm gonna accept responsibility for my mate. The guy who shouted shat himself because he's a bit of a physical microbe, and Craig is a hardcore jock. When he's mad you tend to need an instant change of underwear.

But, back to Graham--he stayed over a couple of weeks ago. We spent the weekend surfing, so he slept over Saturday night. It was a special night that I'll tell you about another time. I intended to write about it next day but realized I hadn't written in quite a while, so I got the guilts.

Brett spent time in Byron over Easter for a few days but stayed at his mom's house. He was alone because Candy was unable to organize time off work. We went to the Ts for dinner one night and had a ripper time. To speak of Kyle at the Ts is like so natural, with no downers. You'd think his folks would be miserable at the mention of his name but no, it livens up the convo--and inspires us to talk about some of things we all did together.

Brett related the story of the time he carried a very drunk Kyle home, and how Kyle puked down Brett's back which made Brett increasingly angry. "But how could I be angry at the sight of that poor sick bugger?" The way Brett told the story had us all in stitches. Each time he asked Kyle if he was okay, the response was a gagging sound and a warm feeling of fresh puke down his back.

Brett and I visited a club together, just us. We met a couple of chicks and Brett disappeared for a while. And you think I'm bad! Our friendship is going well--Brett is such a serious bloke. He often lightens up but he can also get involved in quite deep and serious convos. I figure he thought twice about staying with his mom because he admitted having considered staying with me. But he owed his mom.

I know that if he stayed at my pad, nothing sexual would have happened. I suspect that sort of closeness is gone between us. We're both pretty much headed down the hetero path. But ... if the opportunity for me arose, go figure.

Meanwhile, varsity has opened a whole new world for Bob and me. To what degree I'm not sure but it's very different to school. Bob's other mate Krish-the Indian God-still hangs with us. Jeez, put a loincloth on that bloke and he could be Mowgli and make a million bucks.

I'm getting carried away here, G. Next time you write Kyle, tell him I said g'day. Hey, he knows that already--he reads over my shoulder.