January 21st, 2007


Five minutes five years ago

It was fifteen past nine in the morning on Martin Luther King Day when I trudged up the stairs to the back house, slightly pissed off and wondering.

Goddammit he locked the door again! I pounded my fist against the door. Nothing. Shit! But something somewhere started to attack my mind. Why else would I grab that discarded rickety wooden ladder that was propped up against the side wall, and set it against the balcony to climb up to the French doors on the other side of the back house?

The ladder was shaky on the uneven ground. I made it up there, barely, and saw him lying on the couch naked, uncovered. It was too chilly out for that.

How could he’ve fallen asleep like that? Wait. Oh, God, no!

I shoved the doors open with my shoulder pushing the couch away just enough for me to crawl through and I tumbled on top of him.

The screams started and didn’t stop. I shook him. He was so cold and as wooden as that ladder. I screamed his name over and over and over, and I hugged him. His name over and over and over until I made my way to the phone.

I dialed 911, ran back to Billy, the cord pulling the phone onto the floor with me. A woman answered.

“Billy’s dead,” I think I said. I’m not sure. I couldn’t get words out. I couldn’t breathe. I remember her telling me to calm down. I couldn’t. Billy. I know I told her that he was my lover in response to something she asked. I remember thinking that it must’ve sounded ridiculous to her.


A man was suddenly yelling at me on the phone, telling me to listen to him, ”Listen!”, that I should try CPR.

“It’s too late!” My voice was ragged, terrified, knowing.

I gave them the address. I know I did that. I hung up. Ran back to Billy. Held him. He moved in a single motion. Frozen. “Oh, God, no. Billy. Billy. Billy.”

I ran to the door. Unlocked it. Wild-eyed. Screaming all the way down the stairs. Opened the front door of the main house then ran back to Billy. It can’t be. No! Billy!

Our dog Bob followed me upstairs and jumped onto his daddy’s legs. They didn’t accommodate him like they always did. Bob was on top of them.

I looked around, found Billy’s pants lying on the floor, threw them over his privates. Oh, no. They can’t see that. On the coffee table was a porn video cover. The TV screen was on, but blank.

It couldn’t’ have been more a few minutes before the EMT barged in, saw me wrapped around him, pulled me off, and started yelling, ”Get the fucking dog out of here!”

I hustled Bob downstairs. Our neighbor Stephanie had made her way over. She was crying. She took Bob into the living room. I ran back upstairs, saw them hovered around Billy. I guess I was still screaming nonsense. They yelled at me to leave. I did.

That was the last time I saw Billy like that. I’d see him eight days later dressed in his favorite white corduroy shirt covered with tiny navy blue stars and his latest favorite pair of jeans. I know he was wearing his favorite Docs cause I picked those out, too.

And that was the first and last time I've ever called 911.