I am stunned. It is not real yet.
My phone rang as I was going into work and I couldn't grab it in time. I saw that the missed call log said Mark H. I thought I would call him back later, which I did leaving a cheerful message to his silly answering machine.
When the phone rang about a half hour later I picked it up prepared to razz him a bit about Suzanne beating him at Literati the night before.
The night before.
I was chatting to Suzanne who was playing him Literati. She told me she was beating him...the first time ever...how he always killed her. I was busy chatting with another friend so I decided not to ask if I could be invited in to watch the game..and I also thought I might be intruding on their friend time.
I wondered what comments he might make since I had my web cam on...what silly observations he might make. I idly thought it had been a while since I had seen him...how long had it been? Surely not my birthday!
I was so delighted that he was calling me this afternoon.
Except...it wasn't him on the phone... it was someone sounding hoarse and tired and tear strained.
"Jeanette?" it said?
"Yes," I said cautiously. Who was calling from Mark's phone? Why were they calling me? "Who is this?"
"This is Curt," Mark's brother, I thought. "Mark's brother" he said. "Are you in a place where you can be okay?"
I was standing in my kitchen, going for the plug in for my phone. It was running low and I had been anticipating a fun conversation with Mark and I didn't want it cutting off.
"Yes," I said feeling icy. "What HAPPENED?"
Was there an accident, surely an accident, maybe he is in the hospital...
"Jeanette," he said, sounding rather forceful...and I thought a bit idly...a bit like MARK, "Mark's DEAD."
Surely not. Surely this is a joke.
I had been so delighted to see him standing in the lobby at the theater that night. I had just gotten my Roots sweatshirt and he had complimented me on it. I thought how good he had looked.
He was somebody FUN to have in my life. Always up for the silly and like me, a big fan of Wendy's Frosties.
We went to the Samba Grill and talked for hours. We sat in the parking garage and talked for hours. I felt instantly open with him...that I could tell him anything. He would never be quick to judge or condemn and his advice, (when he wasn't being silly) was always heartfelt.
"You're kidding!" I said. I thought maybe it was a joke. It sounded like something he might want to play...except Curt sounded so tired and strained and sad. Please let this be a joke. It's a not very funny one Mark! Get on the phone and start laughing at me NOW.
"No," he said, his voice cracking again. It sounded like something he had had to say too many times already and it never got easier.
"There was an accident at work..."
I instantly visualize Mark squished under literal tons of packages.
"He got electrocuted...it was instantaneous. Nobody could do anything...he was just ... GONE."
GONE. What do you mean he was just GONE? How do you just ...be..GONE?! But...what will happen with all his stories he wanted to write?! He can't be gone. I gave him his Live Journal account. What will happen with Phineas Bogg? He was so excited about that! He just posted silly samurai pictures that I wanted to show all my friends!!! He was so excited to FINALLY have his computer put together! He'd been talking about it since we started hanging out.
Wasn't he just playing my sister Literati last night? Who will take care of his dogs?
"Oh no..." I said out loud.
"Are you okay?" he asked me?
Am I okay? I should be asking the same of you! I think. Don't ask me if I'm okay!
"Because he talked about you a lot and I know you were close..."
Not this last month. I had been busy a lot and hadn't given him much time.
"My mom and I had to go down and identify him."
THAT'S got to be one of the worst things we human beings have to ask of other human beings. Come here and tell us if this lump of flesh and bone, this shell, the left behind part has meaning for you.
Not much left of the conversation after that. I asked if I could do anything, anything at all and he said he appreciated the offer. I told him if there was to please let me know. He thought the funeral might be Saturday (rather late, I thought,) in his mom's ward. He would let me know.
I hang up the phone. I am numb. I will have to tell Suzanne. I don't think she was on his phone, but she might be. I will call after 3 when she is done with Sam's class. She will have to know.
I hear some kids playing outside. Wulfie looks at me and meows.