That old bastard Remy had a good death.
Surrounded by friends, at the lake he loved, nourished by old arguments, a last good-bye, and then a heroin slip into the after.
The Barbarian Invasions lacked the cruelty of The Decline of the American Empire, but given that the end was death, not disclosure, the wistfulness was appropriate.
It’s to be said that Remy truly was a rotter: He slept his way through Montreal, allowing his wife to believe he only indulged when travelling. She was true, believing in the best of him, even as he bedded her confidantes.
That’s pretty much the plot, such as it is, of The Decline: friends eating and drinking and divulging and screening their sexual lives.
And Invasions? Twenty years later, and the reprobate is dying in a seedy Montreal hospital, his hostile son spreading money over the layers of bureaucracy in order to procure his father some peace.
And heroin. I mentioned the heroin, didn’t I? It gave Remy peace in his last days of life, then carried him into death.
Not a bad way to go.
I no longer steady myself in plans of my death, but I do, nonetheless, wonder how it will be. Yes, we all die alone, blah blah, but before that last blip, how will it be?
Will there be friends? Wine? Arguments and laughter? Perhaps I’ll die in my sleep, in an apartment or hospital room or on a beach.
Come the apocalypse, well, I live in New York City: if it’s man-made, I’ll burst in the flash or fall choking from the bad air or waste away, abandoned to a pathogen.
But while I may think about this more often than others—and I don’t know if I do, given that American can-do spirit that says we can live forever, so best not to speak of death—I don’t think very long about it.
Not because it’s morbid or sad, but because it’s, mmm, boring. Death’ll come when it comes, and any control I’ll have over it’s arrival will likely be small.
And as for my worries about living my last days alone, the way to guard against that is not to live the rest of my life alone.
So wine and friends and arguments and laughter, now. If I take care of that, the rest will take care of itself.