Author: Clever Classless and Free PM
'The loneliest people in the whole wide world are the ones you're never going to see again.' TW: Suicide.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Tragedy - Words: 3,464 - Published: 10-13-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3065297
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
When it came to Pete, Keith knew the man didn't have a routine. He knew that Pete wasn't going to come round everyday to bother him, and even when he did, he only came when it was convenient for him. Very rarely was it ever the other way around.
Not that Keith minded; truth be told, he liked whatever attention Pete gave him whenever he decided to give it. He liked the space between them and the way their relationship was both impersonal and romantic all at once. It made him feel secure in knowing that he could walk out of it at any time he wanted, if he ever felt he needed to.
A convenient emergency exit if ever things between them got sour.
He never considered the fact that Pete might be the one to go first.
He'd become so accustomed to Pete's sparse nature that he didn't even notice when he had left- not at first.
It started with a prolonged absence, of which Keith was used to.
He stayed at home and went out when he had to, played music with his band and a stand-in for Pete when he didn't show, but then the gigs stopped booking themselves and he began to find himself alone with more and more free time. Curious and confused by the absence, Keith began to seek answers.
Never one to willingly initiate contact with others, he begrudgingly began trying to call Peter in order to invite him round, perhaps, but his calls were never answered. He wasn't sure what to make of it, and while he didn't think he was being ignored, he did wonder if perhaps something had happened to Pete that made him incapable of communication. Could he have overdosed? What if he'd gotten sick and needed help?
Uneasy in his inability to get in contact, Keith began to seek other methods of finding out what had befallen the man.
Peter's flat was too far for Keith to walk to (never mind the fact that he was partially afraid of passing out on the way, and even then he wasn't entirely certain WHERE Peter's flat was, which wrote out taking a cab) forcing him to, yet again, initiate contact.
Keith didn't have many friends, but the ones he did have were shared with Pete so he was able to ask them about him in confidence, though he quickly found out that they knew as little about his whereabouts as he did.
"Have you seen Pete lately?"
"He didn't tell you he was going on holiday or anything, did he?"
"Did he leave a note with you? Has he been round?"
"No he's not at home, I've already tried his place."
They didn't seem to have any more answers than he did which did little to quell his nerves. Even with this unfortunate turn of events, Keith tried to remain optimistic. Although Pete was gone now, everything would work out in the end; he'd come back when he wanted to and it'd all be fine. Their lives revolved around his schedule, just as they always had.
So Keith began to wait.
He was content on his own to wait for Peter's return, but the rest of his band didn't seem to see eye to eye. It didn't start to bother him until, at one of their band's meetings, one of the guitarists (having been fed up with Pete's absence), declared:
"He's run out on us, hasn't he? The bastard's left us dry!"
And that was when the doubt set in.
How long had it been since he'd last seen Pete? He'd thought it had been only a few days, a week or two at most, but hours blur together when one doesn't sleep and he was startled to find that it'd been nearly 2 months since anyone had heard from him.
Where had he gone? Was he alright? Why hadn't he left word?
Had he'd really run out on them?
He hadn't any clue where Pete could've run off to and had no one he could turn to for answers. Keith was stuck not knowing, and the thought of unknowing tortured him. He didn't understand, but desperately wanted to.
All he could do was wait.
The realization that yes, Peter had probably left them- had left him- was a devastating one. He didn't know what to do. Should he keep drumming for a band that no longer had a front man or a singer? Should he try and find a real job? The money he earned from the group that would surely disband without Pete could only carry him so far.
He was unfit for the generic workplace, though; was hardly even fit to play drums. He'd tried retail work before and gotten fired one too many times for passing out on the job- apparently customers took it rather personally when he conked out on them. Keith was far too unhealthy for any kind of normal lifestyle.
So what then was left for him to do but wait?
He did quite a bit of that as he paced around his flat, waiting for some kind of sign or notice from Peter to arrive. Keith played their reunion out dozens of times in his head as he waited; pictured the way Pete would come strolling through his door on that arrogant gait of his and make things right with a quick explanation.
"Sorry love; had a bit of a complication while I was away," he'd droll as he fixed his hair in the mirror, flashing a comforting smile at himself. "Really couldn't get out of it, you understand."
Keith told himself he would believe any excuse Peter threw at him if only he would come back.
He'd never realized before how much of an impact the man had had over his life, and now that he was gone he found he didn't like quite how empty it was without him.
The other members of the band wanted to find a replacement singer so they could start performing again, but Keith doubted very much in his ability to play behind another man. He said they could find a new singer if they wanted, but they'd have to get a new drummer, too.
They said they would.
"You're a shit drummer anyway, Keith."
Alone now in his English life, Keith continued to wait, but his patience quickly wore thin and his reluctant form of hope morphed into anger.
Peter had said he'd loved him; the arrogant prick had actually said he'd loved him; but where was he now? Out consorting around with whoever caught his fancy? Feeding them the same lies he'd once fed to the beloved he'd left behind?
Keith raged for days (though it all felt like one long, miserable hour to him), destroying all the records he'd ever received in the name of a special holiday and throwing out all the clothes Peter had left behind in his flat. Gathering them all in a great bunch, he threw them out of a window and watched with cold anger as they fluttered down to the ground. He didn't feel better for it, but he was glad to be rid of them.
He thought he'd rid the flat of all Peter's clothes when he found one of the man's old favourite jackets tucked under his bed. Grabbing hold of it, Keith thought he'd toss it out with the rest of his clothes, but couldn't stop his fingers from lovingly stroking the seams and the stitches of what had once been one of Peter's most prized jackets. A crushing wave of old sentimentality settled over him and he felt himself despair.
He couldn't stop himself from crying when he realized Peter had left him as easily as he had left his precious clothing and wondered if he had ever really meant anything to him after all.
Holding it tight, Keith thought he ought to burn it, and with it the memories of the man who'd once worn it so well in order to cleanse himself of the pitiful emotions they had made him feel, and momentarily rose from his sorrow in order to do so. He wiped his face clean on the jacket's front and hoped it would somehow stain its flawless surface as he bitterly clutched it close.
His hour of anger soon subsided, though, as his limited energy began to dwindle and he did not burn it. Instead, he draped it around the back of a chair and waited for Pete to come and claim it before willingly giving himself over to sleep.
It brought no comfort to him and made his heart ache in the morning when he awoke alone. Lying in his oft-unused bed, he stared forlornly into his ceiling and thought of nothing.
This was when the depression fell in.
It sank deep into his bones; soaked his soul in unyielding sorrow when he finally realized just how attached he'd grown to the man called Saint. He'd trusted him; gave him more of himself than he'd ever given to anyone before, only to have him walk out.
To say he felt betrayed didn't begin to cover it.
Keith had never been so caught up over a person before; he didn't know what to do. All those times he'd told Peter he'd loved him, he thought he'd just been polite in reciprocating the sentiment, but he realized now (all too late) that he'd meant it.
With Pete gone, he found that the light had gone out of his life; it hurt all the more to realize, then, that it had been Pete who'd lit that light for him.
Before, when Keith was getting by alone in the foreign country, he'd known no one and had no ambition. But Pete had gone and gotten himself involved in his affairs and, against his better judgment, had made his miserable existence something he wanted to see through.
Keith hadn't had any long-term plans for wherever their relationship was headed, but he certainly hadn't seen it ending like this.
The longer he waited, the sadder he became. He stopped eating (stopped even the infrequent meals he used to take when he got weak), grew thin, and fell ill. With no one to care for him, he wallowed in his sickness and despair until his mother called and relayed the news of his father's death unto him.
Urged to come home, Keith broke down and followed Peter's example and left.
He was not quite as rigid in his departure as his ex-lover had been; he left a forwarding address with the members of his former band (mostly in hopes of leading Pete to him if he should ever come back) and told them he was returning home to France.
They didn't ask why and didn't care; he'd never been very close to any of them and only wanted to leave a trail.
He didn't bring anything back with him when he finally went back to France. Keith left his apartment fully furnished and full of all his belongings and ended up taking only one case of clothing with him. Peter's jacket remained on the back of his chair in case he ever came back and wanted to retrieve it. Keith left the door unlocked and walked away, leaving behind him a home that anyone could return to, only no one ever did.
Keith would never set foot in England again.
His mother welcomed him back wordlessly and with open arms, crying softly into his shoulder as he consoled her through the loss of her husband. He understood her sadness and felt the weight in his heart double as her grief mixed with his own.
When she was done weeping with his arrival, she smiled and guided him back to his old room, wherein he went to lie down and did not get up again for a very long time.
Being home without the military authority of his father was odd, and without the strict guidance he used to set upon him, Keith wilted. His mother, battling her own over-bearing misery, tried her hardest to get him to eat and get better, but depression held a vipers grip over his soul and he burrowed away into his sheets and grief, whispering with desperate wonder into cold pillows: "Where did you go?"
He wrapped himself up in sorrow and became a little boy again, lost to old comforts when the world threw cruel fortune at him.
Although she understood (or thought she did), his mother worried. It seemed as though there was nothing she could do to save her son as she was left with no other option but to watch him wither. No amount of encouraging and comforting she could give could get her son to rise from his melancholy. Terrified for Keith's well being, she was about to call in professional help when Keith suddenly appeared to get better.
He no longer ignored her aid, and began to eat when she brought him food. He sat up in bed and began reading again, even getting up on occasion to shower and bathe and once even asked his mother to trim back the length of his hair that had grown long. Slowly but surely, he began to gain back the weight he'd lost and appeared to be recovering, which greatly relieved his mother.
She began to encourage him to take meals with her outside of his room and slowly guided Keith into escorting her to dinners away from home so that he might become socially active again. Her worry crept back in to nag at her though when she realized that her son, although physically recovered, mentally wasn't quite the same. He'd never been one for strong conversation, but he seemed listless, dull, and disinterested in everything. He was depressed, and she didn't know what to do about it.
Seeking advice for his condition, she started researching ways to help him when she stumbled upon an article that advised physical activities to boost endorphin production. She mentioned this to Keith and suggested he start going on walks around the city to help clear his mind. He sighed, but didn't want to cause his mother anymore worry, and took up her advice.
The city he'd been born and raised in had changed little in the time he'd been away. His feet found and walked familiar paths that took him around to old haunts as he willed himself to get over this miserable feeling.
So Pete wasn't coming back; that much seemed certain. It'd been nearly half a year since Keith had left England, and he'd had no word of him returning.
(Or maybe he had come back and just didn't care enough to seek him out again.)
He had his whole life ahead of him. If he could just conquer his depression and nurse himself back to health, he was sure he could find something to do with his time left on earth.
(His life was empty and meaningless.)
He knew leaving the house that morning that he wouldn't be coming back.
(He wished his mother the best.)
The church he'd all but grown up in as a child still loomed as tall as he remembered it doing in his youth as he approached it. He stood in the shadow of its spire briefly before walking up the stone steps and into the narthex. Standing still in the entrance, he took in all that had changed and all that had stayed the same before ducking out of sight and walking the length of the aisles to the stairwell that would lead him to the roof.
Once there, he breathed a sigh of relief. This was it. This was where he'd hid out as a child when the other children from school had tormented him. He found himself seeking refuge here again as approached the edge of the roof. Keith stood leaning against the protective railing for a moment and let the breeze play with his hair before he took off the sunglasses that had helped him get through life.
He placed them on the ground next to the railing and looked out over the city he'd grown up in. His mind was clear as he sighed and breathed in the cool French air.
He did not feel sad. He did not feel angry.
He did not feel anything at all, and that, he found, was the problem.
Peter had stripped him of everything.
Peering out over the railing, he looked the long way down to the street below and climbed out over the steel barrier. His feet barely fit on the slim ledge as he struggled to maintain balance. He didn't know if what he was doing was right or worth it, but he did recognize it as the only option left to him.
He thought of his mother as he began to lean forward, shuffling awkwardly and tightly holding to the railing behind him, and wondered how she'd handle the news of his death so soon after her husband's.
At this angle he could see the group of people that had begun to gather on the street. They watched him as quietly as he watched them, and he sighed; he hated when people looked at him.
But he'd loved it when Peter had.
With that last little twinge of heartbreak, Keith said a prayer for his soul and let go.
He thought of his life as he went, all the ups and downs of it as he fell, and the rushing of the wind and the screaming of the audience from below made him feel like he was on stage performing again. He felt alive for the first time in a very long while and marveled at how fast he was falling.
Death came to claim him as he smacked violently into the pavement.
His mother, excited at the prospect of her son's recovery, would wait for Keith to return home like he had done for Peter many months ago, but he'd never come. It was only when the police officers came knocking at her door to tell her-
"Mrs. Villeneuve, there's been an accident."
-that she knew her son would not be coming back.
Her heart sank as she followed them out the door and into their car. Her hands wound over themselves in worried knots as she tried to keep optimistic. Maybe they'd mistaken someone else for her son, or maybe even her son had somehow survived whatever accident had befallen him and they just couldn't tell right away.
It was all a mistake, she hoped, but as they drove past the sight of the accident her eyes began to water. She couldn't stop the sobs that escaped and she began crying when she saw the amount of people gathered there in front of the church and knew then that it was no accident.
Keith had been a man raised in shame; taught to hate everything he'd eventually grown to be. He'd lived a life of forced seclusion, hiding himself away to avoid the humiliation that came with everything he believed had been wrong with him.
Peter had taken him away from all that- had gotten him to see the better side of the things that Keith had thought made him less of a man, and for a while, Pete had made him happy to be alive.
In his final moments, Keith had wondered why Pete had been compelled enough to take that away from him.
He hoped that wherever Pete had wound up he was happy, because living with this miserable feeling was unbearable and all consuming.
They buried him in his church's graveyard, as per his mother's wishes, in a section of unconsecrated ground with a statue of a great, weeping angel crying over his plot.
'And four hours north of Portland, the radio flips on
And some no one from the future remembers that you are gone
The loneliest people in the whole wide world
Are the ones you're never going to see again.'