They sat there, the two of them, on a grassy hillside facing the rising sun. Strikingly similar in appearance, yet their posture couldn’t have been more different. Jay was practically laid out, propped up on his elbows, ankles crossed. He stared out at the world before them, taking it in and smiling sadly. Dee slouched forwards, arms round his knees. He studied the ground before his boots intently, brow furrowed with worry.
“Strange really,” Jay said, realizing how silent they’d become and disapproving.
Dee didn’t notice, lost to his morose reflection. Jay glanced over, sighed.
“Dickhead, don’t ignore me,” he jibed playfully.
Dee glanced back briefly.
“Sorry. What’d you say?”
“It’s strange, yeah? Brand new day and it looks no different than usual. Bill’s gone, but to see this you’d never know he was there to begin with. Sort of lends perspective, when you think that we have so little impact on, well…on anything.”
Dee frowned deeply.
“Bill mattered,” he said, “to me, to us, to all of us. And we’re different, changed by losing him.”
“Yeah but even if a million people mourned, the sun would still be rising this morning. It doesn’t care. And when we’re all dead it still won’t care. Hard to be upset, thinking about that.”
Jay shrugged, added “Just how I feel.”
Dee’s frown didn’t lessen.
“Our friend’s dead, because he couldn’t stand how alone he felt, and you’re talking about how inconsequential he was. Bloody charming, Jay.”
“Hey!” Jay was indignant, “It’s not like it’s my fault, ya know? I mean, if he’d asked my opinion I would’ve told him to stick around.”
“That’s not how it works,” Dee muttered.
“Well I don’t bloody know how it works, do I?”
“It still hurts, you knob. I don’t want my friends offing themselves. Even when they’re being a knob. And yeah, I don’t understand why he did it. I don’t get why he was lonely. Maybe if he’d talked to us then he’d know we wanted him around, and he’d be here with us, agreeing that you’re a bit of a knob.”
Jay was practically shouting, sat up now and looking a little angry.
“Or he’d be shaking his head cuz you’re being an insensitive prick!” Dee snapped, “Cuz life is so bloody easy, is it? Just don’t worry and it’ll all work out, is that right? I wish it were that simple Jay, I really do. But it’s not. You’re just too thick to–just forget it.”
Dee was startled, for a moment. He sighed.
“I don’t want to go. Some days everything seems impossible, and even the good days can be difficult and it’s exhausting. But I don’t want to…to go.”
Jay sniffed, “Well, good. I mean, no, it’s shit. That it’s like that. I’m sorry. But I’m glad you want to stick around. And I’m sorry if I’m a bit of a knob about that stuff. I just really don’t get it.”
Dee couldn’t help but laugh at that.
“Mate, it’s my brain and I don’t get it,” he said. “Look, I’m sorry. I was being a dickhead because what happened to…what Bill did. There wasn’t some big change that triggered it. He just woke up one day and couldn’t stand to do it anymore. Live, I mean. And that’s pretty terrifying. Why am I different? Me and Bill, we’re pretty similar, so why am I still here when he’s not? I can’t help thinking about that.”
He glanced back. Jay was frowning, clearly angry, probably uncomfortable. Finally he met Dee’s eyes, spoke in careful, measured tones.
“If you want my opinion, it’s because you aren’t that similar. If you were, we probably wouldn’t be having this delightful little chat. Cuz I never talked to Bill like this, you know. I don’t think he talked to anybody about it, like this. I’m glad you do. I’d worry, I think, if we stopped talking about this. Maybe if…fuck it. He didn’t, and he’s gone; you do, and you’re still here. So maybe that’s the reason.”
“Didn’t know you cared, mate,” he teased.
They sat there, the two of them, on a grassy hillside facing the risen sun.