Cape Town, South Africa
Well, I’ve finished writing about [what happened on] Wednesday night. Taken a while. Thursday morning [at the coffee shop], Mark was as quiet as anything. I just took it as his usual early morning thing. He was really deep in thought. It worried me.
“Hey, you OK?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“You look a million miles away. You thinking about last night?”
“No. I’m not in the mood for your crap this morning, Cody.”
The only thing he said after that was ‘cheers’ when he left to go to the harbor.
This morning [Friday], Mark had a cut on his ear, and his cheekbone had a cut. So I guessed the problem.
“Doesn’t like me drinking his beer and smoking his stash.”
“Look, Code. I think I’m gonna go to Johannesburg.”
“I almost killed him last night. My mom was in tears and screaming at me. If she wasn’t there, I would’ve put a carving knife through him.”
“It was intense. I lost my head completely. I had him over the kitchen sink with a knife to his throat. We were screaming at each other.”
“That why you’re leaving?” *My eyes were full of fucking tears but I couldn’t help it*.
“I think that just made up my mind. You know I’ve been thinking about it.”
*I couldn’t speak*.
“That guy who offered me the job [in Joburg] will be back in Cape Town probably next week. I phoned my dad at three o’clock this morning, and he says if it doesn’t work out I can stay with them for as long as I need, or I can get [my own] digs and he’ll help me out. Don’t put me on a fucking guilt trip [Code].”
“I’m not. I can’t help it. But I know you need to go.”
“I’m probably gonna be moving in at Carol’s house this weekend if her folks say it’s OK.”
“You could move in with me if it’s a short time.”
“I can’t do that.”
“I just can’t.”
“You can. My folks would be cool about it.”
“And you would be all over me like a fucking rash every minute that I’m there. You’re my friend, Cody, and the other night was special, but I can’t do that all the time. It drives me fucking crazy.”
“I won’t. You can sleep in the spare room or the den.”
“It won’t work. You’ll be watching every move I make. Toldya – check out your mirror rather [than me].”
“C’mon, Mark. Fuck! We’re friends, and it’ll be a short while, and I won’t hassle you.”
“Stop it. It’s not gonna happen.”
“Maybe Carol’s folks won’t let you stay there.”
“Then I’ll make a plan.”
“Then think about staying at my place.”
“No. Listen, dumbass. You’ve taken me on a fucking journey I wouldn’t believe could happen. I’m not gonna say I didn’t like it cos I did. But I cannot do that all the time. I’m not you, Cody. I’m fucking madly in love with Carol and I can’t afford to fuck it up.”
“But the other night…”
“…Was fucking wrong, and I shouldn’t have done what I did. It was my fault cos I wanted it to fucking happen. I needed to see what made you tick.”
“You’ve lost me. I’m not understanding anything here.”
“Just give me a break. My mind’s fucking swimming, Cody. I don’t want to hurt you, OK? You don’t deserve that.”
“When are you going?”
“It depends on this other dude.”
“Maybe he’s gay and he wants you.”
“He’s not. I would’ve picked it up. Don’t think I didn’t think that. So what? Gay’s a dirty word now? With you? Fuck, that’s a turn-up for the books.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot – you’ve got a gay girlfriend.”
Mark hit me so fucking hard that I saw stars. People around [us] were fucking staring. Mark was spitting fucking mad, and I thought he was gonna hit me again. “Fuck you, Cody. Stay fucking away from me.” He was almost spitting the fucking words out. They hurt a lot more than his fist. If I’d hit him back I think he would’ve almost killed me. His veins were standing out on his forehead, and his face was red.
But when I read this mail again and remembered everything, I know that I hurt Mark with my stupid fucking comment and just drove him over the edge. I don’t think he meant what he said. I’m sure he didn’t mean it.
I’m gonna read your mail again [G] – and again. I’ll try and get hold of Mark later.
Friday night, I tried to phone Mark but he wasn’t home. Then I phoned Carol and Mark was there.
“He said he doesn’t want to speak to you, Cody. What’s going on?”
“Hey, ask him.”
So I stayed at home. My folks were out. I got out some [computer] disks and tried to put a [Cody] news page together, but nothing. My brain felt fried. Tried to get TJ online but he wasn’t on. I got naked and jacked in front of the comp looking at some pics, and for the first time I felt like a total fucking idiot when I imagined what that would look like to Mark. So I crapped out and went to bed and jacked there. My folks came home about 1am. Good old mom:
“Hey, what’s the matter?”
“I’m cool, mom. Just having a quiet one at home for a change.”
She felt my head with her hand. “You don’t feel ill.”
“Hehehe. I’m fine, mom – really.”
“Great. So you’ve got something in both eyes, then. They’re watering.”
“I had a helluva fight with Mark.”
“Hmmm. So let me count which one this is. And that explains the cut and the bruise.”
“This was different.”
“Want to speak about it? Or maybe to dad?”
“Nah. It’ll be cool – really.”
After mom left [my room], dad came in and sat on the bed, and we chatted about how the surf’s been crapping out and the weather and stuff, and then: “I had a friend when I was about your age. We were tight. I’m sure some people must’ve had strange thoughts about us. We argued about something really stupid. I said something – can’t even remember what it was now – and we’ve never spoken a word to each other since. I went into a depression and I was stubborn. So was he.”
“Never ever seen him again?”
“Nope. And I suspect that you and Mark have hurt each other with words, and that bruise on your cheek doesn’t bother you at all. You guys suit each other as friends, and I think Mark is pretty much a no-bullshit person, and you can be stubborn. Don’t throw it away, Cody. Even if you don’t see each other for a while. Get the words going. If you throw it away, all the good memories go with it.”
I felt better after my dad spoke to me.
Saturday morning, tried to phone Mark at home. Shitforbrains said that he’d gone to work. Phoned Mark’s work. He sent a message saying he was busy and couldn’t get to the phone.
Phoned Mark at Carol’s and his house. At his house, his mom said that he was showering. I could hear him [in the background] telling her what to say, and I think he wanted me to hear. So I thought ‘fuck that’ and went around there. At least I knew he was there.
Shitforbrains answered the door. “Hi, can I see Mark?”
“He’s in his room packing.”
My fucking heart sank. His room door was closed so I knocked. “Yes?” *He sounded totally fucked out*.
“Mark! It’s me.”
He opened the door, and his eyes were red, and I knew he was fucking crying. Never said a word. He just turned his back and went back to packing stuff into two sports bags that he had open on his bed. He was really throwing the stuff in there. Eventually, he turned to me and his eyes were full of tears. “What the fuck do you want, Cody?”
“I want to say I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean that. You know I didn’t.” He didn’t say a word, and carried on packing. “Where are you going?”
“Got myself a small garden flat in town.”
He carried on packing his toiletries and stuff. I was really nervous about making him mad so I let him carry on. I needed to find out where he was going. He rolled his duvet around his pillow and folded sheets. He was in tears and went into his shower, and I could hear him blowing his nose.
“How are you getting there?”
“With all your stuff?”
“Two bags and some bedding. It’s cool.”
“My dad will take you through.”
“It’s OK. I’ll manage. Here.” *He gave me an envelope with my name on it*. “I was going to give it to Steph. Don’t open it now.”
“Why don’t you just tell me what it says? I’m here.”
“You can read it later.”
“You ever coming back here?”
“What about Carol? You gonna come through [here] and see her?”
“Are you leaving cos of me?”
“You know that’s not the reason.”
“Am I gonna see you again?”
“Are we still friends?”
*Then he looked at me with his eyes still brimming*. “Buds forever, right?”
“I need to say goodbye to my mom, Cody. Maybe you don’t want to be here.”
“Can I give you a hand with your stuff?”
“I can manage.”
“You want me to leave?”
“I think it’s better – for now.”
“Catch [you for] coffee tomorrow morning?”
“How can I get hold of you?”
“Will you phone me?”
“I’ll see, Cody.”
“I’m fucking hating this.”
“Look. I’ll try and phone you later, or maybe see you for coffee.”
“I’ll see. Cya, Cody.” He offered his hand and I took it.
“Cya, Mark. I loveya.”
I left, and then walked to the corner and opened the envelope he gave me:
Please don’t show this to anyone. Get rid of it when you’ve read it.
By the time you get this, I will be out of my house. My boss and his wife have given me their small garden flat at their house. He’ll take the rent out of my wages – so it’s not for free – but he says that it won’t be expensive.
I can’t suss out what’s going on in my head right now, so it may be best we don’t see each other for a while. There are a lot of things I want to say but can’t. I thought that it may be easier to write it down.
I’ve met a lot of guys and thought they were friends. But I never really knew what a real friend was until I met you. You’re a pain in the ass sometmes but I know that I can be as well. You’ve shown me what real friendship is all about, and now I’ve gone and screwed that up. I hope that one day we can get it back together again. I realized the other night that you were like no other person that I’ve ever met or will ever meet in my whole life. I want you to know something. I loved the night we had together – every special moment of it. I can’t describe exactly what I felt. I would never have believed that I could have such strong feelings [for a guy] – and still have.
I need to sort myself out, Cody. I need some space to think things through. You know how I feel about certain things, and they haven’t changed. I am having feelings for you that I am having difficulty in coping with.
I know that you are not going to be happy about me having gone without letting you know but it’s better for both of us. Look after yourself, buddy. I’m sorry for the things we said to each other.
I had just put the envelope back in my pocket when I saw Mark walking up the road with his two bags and his bedding. It wasn’t easy carrying all that shit.
“Thought you’d gone.”
“Yeah, well I knew you’d need a hand, anyway. I want to make sure you leave.” I grabbed one of the bags from him, and we walked together towards the train station. “I read your letter.”
“I knew you would – cos you never fucking listen.”
“I’m gonna hate not being able to run around to your house and see you.”
“I just need some time.”
“Will you move back?”
“My mom wants me to stay but she also understands.”
“I know you need to move. I don’t have to like it, though.”
“I’m going to miss the ‘hood.”
“Thanks for the letter.”
“I also thought that it was pretty special.”
We didn’t say a helluva lot cos Mark was really wrestling with his own thoughts. He seemed to be handling it better than when he was at home. I waited with him [at the station] for the train to come, and then he said he would see me Monday morning. It was very weird watching the train leave the station.
I didn’t feel a helluva lot better about him going, and was feeling totally down. I’m gonna read his letter a few more times before getting rid of it. I will – cos Mark wants it that way. And I can imagine the crap if it gets found or read by somebody else.
[So why have I used it here, together with all other email from Cody? Cody was happy for me to use all his stuff in the Wingnut and Mark stories because he figured no one in Cape Town would ever see them, except Paul, Steve and himself. In any case, Cody’s death changed everything. His story is a remarkable one that I believe needs to be told for the benefit of people who can gain something very positive from Cody’s life and the lives of his friends. Steve agrees, and Steve was one of Cody’s closest friends. I also believe that if Mark or Wingnut or Steph ever read The Codeman they would be pleased with it. The initial shock of having been ‘exposed’ could be a bit of a hurdle but I think they’d settle down and appreciate it. Not sure about Cody’s folks, though. There was a great deal about Cody’s life they were unaware of, so there’s a possibility that they might have a problem dealing with the whole truth. But I don’t think there’s a single person reading this note who would not be proud to call Cody their son, or his friends their friends. MrB]
Sunday I helped my dad around the house. Went for a surf. I didn’t try and catch up with Wingnut. He was out most of the weekend, anyway. I really just needed to be alone.
This morning [Monday] at coffee, Mark was in a totally good mood, which didn’t help me feel any better. He loves the garden flat. He needs to buy some food and shit like that today. He said once he’s sorted out, we can go out for a rave and I can stay over – better than hiking all the way home. He said that Carol’s going through [to the flat] to spend a few days there while it’s still holiday time, and she’s gonna sort out the flat a bit [with a woman’s touch]. She was upset but now she’s cool about it. She thinks it’s better for him. He’s gonna get himself a second-hand mobile [cell] phone so he can be contacted.
Copyright © 2003 All rights reserved. mrbstories
Codeman Part 113