The first memory of that fateful day that Marc recalled was of Joanna waking him up ashen faced and looking confused. Marc was immediately awake, something had shaken her greatly. She was trying to tell him something, all he could make out was ‘We need to cancel the party’ it took Marc a moment to realize she meant the party they had planned this evening with their friends. But before he could react, the second bit of the sentence sunk in… ‘We need to cancel the party. Jake has killed himself’
For a moment Marc didn’t know how to react. He stared at Joanna like she was a madwoman. This was not possible, was this a joke? Was she playing a cruel trick on him? He had met Jake only last week… how could this have happened? At moments like these, Marc never knew how to react. He looked to others for cues on how to behave. Clearly Joanna’s reaction was one of a breakdown which- considering the circumstances- was not beyond reason. Jake was a dear friend. He would have said, best friend- and he knew Jake and Joanna were close.
‘I… are you sure?’ Marc said as he bit back a swear word. Jake! Dead?
Joanna looked at him defeated. She had been expecting something, maybe she expected he would say something like, ‘Oh no that is not true’ She hugged him and she started crying. It took a while before Marc was able to calm her down and put her to sleep. He then checked the phone, it was Officer Gregory who had called. This was not a good sign. Jake had been hauled up in the past by the cops and Officer Gregory had been the one to call in. This call and the news he had just heard made the whole situation all the more ‘real’
In the kitchen, Marc finally sat down and called back. Gregory sounded flustered and busy, but his voice changed once he realized who it was on the line. His voice changed to the, ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ voice. Empathetic, calm and yet direct. It was fascinating how there was a switch in Officer Gregory’s mind that in an instant he could change face like this. Jake had been found dead outside his apartment. He had… jumped. While his wallet had given the name, his identity had since been confirmed by a cross check of his finger prints with the police records.
Marc heard all this and had to remind himself to thank the officer for the information. No, he didn’t know where Jake’s next of kin were. Jake had been a very private person. Yes, he would come down to the precinct to answer a few questions and- this was it, Officer Gregory had been putting off using the word thus far, but he used it now. He needed Marc’s inputs to close the case as a suicide.
The thing is, when you lose someone you know in such a manner, you don’t want to be told that it happened. You can’t admit that it happened because somehow you feel responsible. Maybe there were signs you could have picked up on. Maybe there was still time to save him.
As he hung up the phone Marc recalled what Joanna had said when she woke him up. ‘Cancel the party, Jake is dead!’ Yes, the party. He would now have to make the many calls to everyone telling them what had happened. He couldn’t bear calling though and resorted to cowardice. He opened up facebook and updated the event simply with the words; ‘Party Cancelled’ He shut down the machine and then started his day. He was upset, but life had to move on.