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Pen Your Pride

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

2013 Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

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Timing.

It's funny how timing is everything in life. If only we could be prepared, perhaps receive a script in advance, as to how events will play out, maybe we'd do things a little differently.

Or maybe we'd take our chances and trust that everything happens for a reason.

Take the death of Colton Bishop. Thirty five years young, a lively, hard working father of one. He married his high school sweetheart, resided in a Neighbourhood where everybody knew everybody.

And everybody loved Colton.

Then one day, he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Timing was everything.

We'd had an argument, Colton and I. It was stupid shit, shit I don't even remember now. I'd invited him to a work event, and I'd gotten really drunk. He was one of my best friends, we grew up together, both die hard Giants fans, both Guitar Hero aficionados, a shared history that meant we knew everything about one another. As much as two guys could know. You know, the stuff that really mattered. And we'd be there. If anything happened to the other, you could take it for granted that the other would be there. We had each others backs, that's the way it was.

Colton didn't know the area. This work party was in some hotel. For the life of me I can't remember what it was called, maybe I had a mental block over the whole thing. Like it was better to just cut myself off than try and understand. But whatever way you spun it, there was no reasoning. Just timing.

He'd been walking towards the bus stop, or that's what they say he was doing. I guess we'll never know. I've tried the whole talking to his headstone thing but I don't get any answers. Just new questions and a whole load of shit I should have told him when he was still here. I wish I could have told him to turn around and cross the street. I wish he'd stayed that night and I'd been less of the stubborn opinionated bastard that I knew I could be at times.

Especially when I'd been drinking.

The combination was lethal.

They made off with his wallet. I know he only had seven dollars in there. He'd been using his card all night. The bullet wound was fatal. I stood there, sobered by the news, in some sterile, clinical police station room. His wife had taken their daughter Sofia to Paris to stay with her sister for the summer. He couldn't go because of work. The police couldn't get hold of her.

So it was me who identified the body. Sobered and blissfully numb, something I'm thankful of now considering how many people talked to me that night. Trust me I've had my fair share of breakdowns since then, but that night, when they told me, I didn't punch a hole in the wall. I didn't drop to my knees crying, like they do in the movies, I didn't shout 'Why!' At the top of my lungs, reaching for the heavens.

I listened to what they said. I nodded. I told them he'd been with me. That we'd had a fight. Then I went to identify him. I'm grateful that a lot of that night is now blank to me. People always tell me that when someone dies, if you're there by their side when they go, it's really hard to remember them how they were. Like their last moments are imprinted into your memory's hard drive, overriding every other memory you have of them. The truth is, from what I can vaguely recall, he looked like he was sleeping.

It was a face I knew well. We'd gone to college together, and after many an alcohol fueled bender he'd crash in my dorm room. It was definitely him. No mistaking his messy blond hair and tanned skin, the beads he wore around his neck that I always told him made him look like a hippy. I'd always been jealous of his innate ability to attract any woman he wanted with his all American Abercrombie and Fitch look. He was always the optimistic, buoyant, upbeat one. I was the moody bastard, the guy who should have been there.

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