October 4, 2007
I returned to Australia from 2 years of self imposed exile in Korea and I was told my best friend was dead. He wasnt exactly my best friend. Not anymore. There had been too much empty space. Too much distance. I didnt even know his phone number anymore. The last time I had seen him was years ago and we didnt know each other anymore then. I already had it in my head he was going to die. I just chose to ignore it.
I was told unhestiatingly and she gauged me carefully unsure of her delivery of news. I was surprised at my lack of shock or feeling. I guess I was expecting it, but I had pushed him out of my life so i´d never have to know. I was even thinking of going back to his house in Nedlands, the huge house where his wealthy family of 5 brothers lived, the house whose bedroom window I used over a hundred times. The house where i spent my summers in my late teens. The house where his mother banged on his door after he came out of the clinic and we were trying to snort ecstasy to make him feel better. That night his mother lost faith in me. That night his other friend warwick got thrown out of the window by Peter. Warwick was desperate too. We snorted what was left in a park later that night without bush and didnt say anything else too each other. Warwick died from a heroin soon after. Died or lost his shit and ended up in jail or something that erased him from Bush´s circle.
I first met Bush on New Years Eve. We took tabs of Acid and we bonded. We were so alike. He was so fucking smart. The smartest person I have ever met. He was enraptured by physics and found explaining it far easier than botheirng with lectures. He was also the kindest person I had ever met. He always thought of others back then. I guess that was because he was a little self concious. He had a healthy appetite for drugs too which helped with the self-conciousness.
On New Years eve we took acid and listened to music and got lost in philosphical pondering and Bush introduced me to real Indie Rock. He played me pavement. He played me Archers of Loaf. He played My Bloody Valentine. And we and others got lost in the cemetery and had a blast of a time. I felt for the first time comfort and ease. I felt like I had people who I could understand.
The rest of that summer we did a lot of acid and smoked a lot of weed. We would come back from parties and talk way late into the night, expounding theories, playing music and when the drive became too much we´d wander around nedlands or go over to Julians and get some more extascy. It was a fucking great Summer, that 96/97 one.
We started Uni together in the same course a year later. On orientation day we missed the Deans morning speech as we had some speed and Bush shot up in the English dept stairwell. It was the first time I had seen anyone use a needle. I was a little shocked. It was about now that Bush´s intake of drugs gradually pulled far ahead of mine.
Later he got a presciption for dexies and we consumed a lot of them. We werent enjoying uni much and didnt go as much as we should. Dexies made allnight papers a matter of routine. I think I learnt most of my courses by consuming a bottle of dexies in the two weeks leading up to exams. I had decided by that time I needed to go.. I needed direction... and half a year later i took my savings and went to Europe for a year.
Bush at this time had finally a girlfriend he loved. Things were happy in his life. Girls had depressed him beyond anything else and he was more afraid of not ever having someone than anything else. 4 months later I got my first and only email from him. He´d fucked up.
He was getting wasted late at night with this girl Marjle who hed once had a fling with and her boyfriend and ´they were popping valium and wine. At about 4 the boyfriend ( who was in the process of trying to kick smack, as was his girlfriend) had an argument with Marjle and stormed off out of Bushs bedroom window. Bush tried to comfort her and one thing led to another and soon they were fucking. An hour later the boyfriend came back through the window and saw them naked together. He went crazy kicking and screaming. He kept kicking Marjle in the stomach and he pushed her out of the window. Bush was trying to pacify him. He kept saying it was his fault. A friend of Bush´s big brother came out to help. He tried to pull the boyfriend of Marjle and he bit his eyebrow off. Took all the skin off. He needed a skin graft for his ass after that.
With Bushs brothers friend screaming and marjle crying on the ground, the boyfriend ran off sobbing and jumped in his car and drove off. He crashed into a tree 5 min later. Marjle and her boyfriend were to be married in 2 months he found out later.
Bush debated for a 3 days without seeing her if he should tell his girlfriend. He knew he would never do it again, but he also knew he could never lie to her for the rest of their relationship. Against Marjle´s advice he told her the truth and she dumped him never to speak to him again. He took it badly.
After I reurned from Europe a year later , i was a far wider eyed man. I seen the middle east. Id camped alone in deserts and run pubs. Id grown up a lot. Bush was different. He was fat again, like he was in highschool before I had met him. He had depression and he had used heroin.
I was working late at a restaurant most nights but Bush was desperate. He would call me up before work. PLease. Please come over. I need you. And I would go after finishing work at 11:30, Id drive straight to his house with some dinner for him and try to help. We d usually end up drinking. or he d pop a couple of valium or he had some dexies. Hed try and pretend it was just as before. I went along with it. But it wasnt.
But I was there for him.
He was very depressed. He said more than anything in the world we wanted to be normal.Cliched boring life of job, suburbs, mortage. That was his dream.
He went into Perth Clinic and I came to visit him. He joked about how crazy it was to be in there. I saw a teacher from my high school there too. Onenight awhile after he was out he begged me to come over very late at night. I was about to go to bed but I went anyway. He was in a bad way he poured his heart out to me and smoked halfn a pack of winfield blues. He then said he couldnt help it. He needed to shoot up.... And did I want any? I didnt. But I wanted to understand. I wanted to know who one thing in the world could make it better for him. So I tied my arm and promised myself never, ever, ever was I to do this again.
It smelt metallic. I didnt really get it. It was soft and tiring. I smiled. Bush looked at peace. I could understand how dangerous this was for him.
One time he came over my house, just before I moved out and a hundred dollars went missing. Earlier during the night the pixies song gouge away was playing and he looked down into his arm with pained look and pretended to inject himself. he didnt think I was looking.
I had got addicted to travelling and the next summer I went away To Indochine. When I came back he told me he had almost died on New Years Eve. He had overdosed in a car somewhere. His arms looked messy. We wnt for beers. I still came over, but I no longer smoked pot and we stopped doing drugs late at night. Only occasionally. I began to see him less and less. We wouldnt click like we used to. He went into Petrth Clinic again and I saw him again in there.He didnt tell me what had happened to send him in. His friends had begun to change. At his house there were people who were users I began to meet. People who would joke about how they have Hep C. 6 months later I went to South Asia for 6 months and when I got back we were more distant than ever.
He had otherfriends who now filled my roll. Not drug friends. Good old school friends. But I let myself slip anyway. And one day I realised I hadnt seen him in months. I guess I gave up. I gave up on my best friend.
And 5 years later he is dead.
I dont know if I put this down because I´m working through it or because now I have supposed reason to emanate deeply, seriously. To use my fucking friend for a cheap fucking story. But I dont feel shocked, and strangely I dont feel sad. Just like every drugaddict cliche I knew, he had died a long while ago. But what had died in me to be so strangley empty and reciprocal to such tragic news?
Posted by alex at October 4, 2007 10:20 AM
I am sorry to say it, cause there are plenty that will disagree ,but to me that is Bushy's true eulogy.Thank you for having the guts to put it so beautifully into words.When I heard Bushy had died I, like you, wasn't shocked....I knew before I returned the phonecall. But reading what you have written so well i am in tears for Bushy as well as all the other Bushy's of the world. I am in tears for the heartache and pain the families and friends go through. Tears for the selfishness , the waste of talent,the desperation and degradation, the cold insensitivity of the dealers and finally tears for myself because,although not proud of it , I know. We both knew he was dead long before the act and I don't think anything died in you at all ,because unlike some, you instinctively knew the pain of his existence and that your purpose here is very different than Bushy's.Alex thankyou for posting this. No one has said it better than you.
Posted by: simon rackleft at October 6, 2007 1:57 PM