Sunday, August 9, 2009

Frank's Story

As much as I tried to work this story out and figure out what I wanted to write it really isn't working for me. I cannot nail it down so I will give you the short version of the story so I don't leave you all hanging.

Frank was my ex's younger brother. He was a sweet guy who would have helped anyone out of they needed it. He loved country music and his prized possessions were his cowboy boots, hat and autograph from some musician who's name escapes me at the moment. He also dreamed of being a country singer and had a demo made. He had plans for his life. Plans that would lead him out of choking poverty and on to a life where he could be happy.
Frank and I had english class together in college, he always shared his notes with me and always gave me a ride home after class. He was a genuinely nice guy.
The morning of the 4th of July many years ago I walked into my ex's house and had him tell me Frank was dead. I was stunned. How did that happen I asked. He was hit by a train. I was floored. How in the hell was he hit by a train? The police said he laid down on the tracks, crossed his arms over his chest and waited. The engineer said just before the train struck him he popped his head up and looked at the train as it was barreling down the tracks toward him. On it's way to take it all away. Take what away though?
What a told you above are facts that I know to be true. Things that I was told first hand by those involved. What I am about to tell you are things my fuzzy brain sort of recalls all these years later. Things people in town speculated, etc.
Frank had a crush on a woman who was older than he. Well into her 30's. A woman who in my opinion was never really into him and mostly just used him. Anyway she moved in with another guy and broke his heart into a million pieces. That was the day he drank himself into oblivion and laid down on the tracks. Also he had discovered his brother had molested his sister years before, years before he was even born. This tore him up in a way he couldn't recover from. None of these things are a secret anymore. This was the summer a million little secrets came to light. The summer that changed everyone in ways that many still haven't recovered from. All the secrets and lies and cover ups and then the death.
Frank was working for a seamless gutter company. Apparently the day he died he bought his co-workers soda's. No suicide note, nothing. The only clue looking back were those soda's. That is why the police ruled his death a suicide. Those soda's that were given away. I don't know about you but I regularly buy my friends things. Soda's, lunch, a drink here and there.
After Frank died I spent days sitting on bar stools all over town questioning people who saw him that night, people who spoke to him, the bartenders and the wait staff. Everyone said the same thing. He was happy that night, drunk but happy. He left his car parked on main street and took off walking because he was drunk. What I will never know and never understand is what happened in those 4 short blocks. How did he go from drunk and happy and not wanting to hurt himself or anyone else by driving drunk to making the decision to say fuck it all and lie down on the tracks waiting for the train to take it all away.
I was told at the time to let it rest, just let it go but to this day I do not believe he voluntarily laid down on the tracks and killed himself. I refuse to believe it.

There ya have it. The short version that took me an hour to write. My brain really had to work to remember even that much.


only a movie August 9, 2009 at 12:16 PM  

Sometimes the things closest to you are the hardest to write down.

You write very eloquently about him as a person, and I'm sure on some level he appreciates that. :-)

Jeanne August 9, 2009 at 3:16 PM  

Losing people when they're young, and have so much potential, and so much ahead of them, is incredibly painful. Knowing that it was avoidable makes it even harder.

I'm sorry you had to go through this, and sorry such a lovely young man is gone.

Joanie M August 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

Wow! What a story! So often, with suicide, no one sees it coming. Odd how time makes memories fuzzy. And I bet there's more to that tory that you don't know about.

Bobbie Leigh August 9, 2009 at 7:43 PM  

Oh my god that's terrible, I'm so sorry. Even though that was the "short" version of such a sad story, it was beautifly written. Such a tragic loss, I can't imagine how all involved must feel.

Anonymous August 9, 2009 at 8:45 PM  

Dear Michelle,

Thank you for sharing this story of Frank with us. Wish that I'd known him, truly.

There are many alcoholics in my family (not that Frank was) and it seems that most of them hit a point in an evening where happy turns to sleepy or belligerent. My mom said it's maybe the point at which the depression in them can no longer be covered by more alcohol and sadness ensues. Irrational and uncharacteristic behaviors that I've witnessed myself are not like the people I know.

I'm sad for Frank's departure, intended or not, and will include him in my personal thanks before sleep.

Kate August 10, 2009 at 8:22 AM  

So sorry Michelle.
There aren't words.
I wish I could give you answers.
I know what it's like to have unanswered questions when someone dies like that. So sorry.

Cat August 10, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

This sounds like the plot of a horror movie. What a terrible loss for this world! Maybe your suspicion is enough, you know, that he didn't just fade into the back of everyone's memory, but that at least one person cares enough to wonder and question all these years later. Maybe that counts for something.

njerzgal August 11, 2009 at 7:54 AM  

that is a powerful story about a sad situation.
I would question too.

the iNDefatigable mjenks August 11, 2009 at 11:47 AM  

He might have appeared happy and drunk to all those around him, but he might have just been appearing happy.

Or, he might have come to his decision and was at peace with it. And that's why he appeared so happy.

How many times did he buy sodas for his friends prior to this? That's a pertinent question in the case. You said he suffered from crippling poverty, so it might not have been often. That could be attributed to a marked change in behavior that is seen as a sign of something suicidal.

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