I miss my friend Bill. I’ll tell you that my friend Bill was not a totally missable guy. He was tacticturn, and hard-to-get-along-with, and downright grumpy. He didn’t like many people, and I guess that’s why I thought it was extra-special that he liked me. We were buddies.
We’d go to downtown bars and hang out, and he’d watch out for me. If a skeezy guy would hit on me Bill was there to save the day. We’d hold hands walking down the street in the bottom, just to give everybody the wrong (but the right) idea. I wasn’t on the market, but I was single. I thought Bill understood that. I turns out he didn’t.
When it all came to a head Bill accused me of leading him on. That we could spend so many hours together and for me NOT to know that he loved me “like that” was inconceivable to him. He just wanted me to fall into the relationship that he felt was inevitable. I didn’t feel like that about ol’ Bill. He was adorable, and sweet, and kind, and wonderful, but he was like my brother, not like my boyfriend. He didn’t agree.
We parted ways and stopped hanging out. I ran into him a couple months after that at a record release party at Plan 9 (record store). It was a Channel 23 record release party. I saw Bill and asked him “do I get a hug?” He kissed me on the top of my head and hugged me. Two days later his old band played at The Hole In the Wall. They were shitty to him, because he was shitty to them first. He was using again–he’d been into herion before I started hanging out with him–and he was bitter because they’d kicked him out of the band.
A couple days after that I got a call. I’d let this girl that my friend was dating move in with me because otherwise she’d have to move back to Williamsburg. She left a note for me “Micah called. Bill OD’d. Kevin really upset.” Kevin was in LA recording an album. Micah lived with Bill. I couldn’t call Micah. I was afraid of what I would hear. I called Kevin in LA. He was the one who told me that Dear Bill was gone.
The next few days were a blur. I met a lifelong friend during that time (whether or not she realizes it, Noreen!) and Swisher was a comfort like I never thought someone could be. But Bill was gone (Birry).
I can’t hear Simple Man without crying. It was his favorite. My heart still hurts.