It’s a funeral and it’s a hard day.
We’re all blacked up and milling around. I spot him and see him, and know enough to get there quick. He’s basic, mad and sad and I can see him smouldering, towering in his frustrated rage. I want to keep him safe. Unusually for him, he’s already well tanked up, hot to trot and ready to rock. He was always the quiet one among all us hooligans but I can see what he wants now is some war.
He needs that simple release of violence. At the best of times, he could easily be a dangerous man, but tanked up, I’m not so sure what he’ll do. He’s a real warrior and there’s no fucking around with a man like that who’s in grief. He’s the real deal and he goes all the way. Ask the question of him, he’ll back you over the cliff without even breaking stride as he gets on with winning the battle while you tumble arse over tit into obscurity.
He’s bloody massive. I manage him out of the main drag of the thing and into some crappy little room on the side. There’s just us, some cheapo plastic shite chairs straight out from the nineteen seventies. I’m trying to come up with some optimistic preamble and he whacks me. It’s a good pop, totally unexpected and it hurts.
He didn’t get me out of the chair. The war reflex in me was ready to rock but he was a soul brother. My arms stay down by my side. Too much understanding going on. No way would I ever raise a hand against him, especially on this day. I won’t fight him but at the same time, I won’t roll over either.
“Is that all you’ve got?” I asked and he did the left hand punch to the other side of my face, and it was a good one.
“You hit like some fucking girlie”, so he hit me even harder from the other side again.
That one hurt.
My head was down and I was watching the blood drips between my legs spotting the floor boards. He grabbed my hair, lifted my head up and got ready to deliver the finishing touch.
‘Fuck you, fuck it. Gowon, do it, bitch’.
‘Why won’t you fight?’ he raged against me.
I show him my fuck you face and tell him we both loved him.
It all stops exactly there.
He grabs me to his breast and holds on for dear life. Blood and tears. We cry together as only men can do, straight up through the crashed, fucked over, buggered up and totally destroyed end of the world as we know it.
Outside of that crappy little annex, was a widow, children and a whole society who would never on the best day of their life get anywhere near an understanding of us.
I blow some snot and blood out of my nose.
Right, we’re going to do this thing I tell him. Let’s tidy ourselves up now, straighten up and fly right. We’ll see him home. I rub him. We’ll get through it. It’ll all be good. Trust me.
It’s a huge hit for him. The guy in the pine box I knew was the one true love of his life. It was always going to be an undeclared love, and what’s more, the guy in the box never ever saw it. I can’t even begin to find the words, so I simply cuddle him until he’s got it back together again.
Right, okay, up and at them Dude. Let’s do this thing.
We rejoin the grieving masses.
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