Surreal. I never understood what that word meant or what it felt like. Until that morning.
I was feeling it.
Or not feeling it.
We had asked him several times if he wanted us to stay with him that night. In fact, we had planned on it all along and were surprised when he sent us home sometime after 2am.
The party was over and the house was cleaned up. The stripper had come and gone, as had most of the guests. It was just the groom-to-be and a few of his close friends, winding things down after the bachelor party.
Dave was a drinker. Not the kind that shows up drunk to work or drinks everyday. But when party time came, Dave went all in. We figured he would need someone to keep him company the night of his bachelor party, in case he had drunk more than he could manage. Dave agreed.
So we were all surprised when he stopped drinking before midnight. By the time everybody left, Dave was stone cold sober. A few of us assumed our duty as groomsmen and put the house back in order. There was little if any sign that a party had taken place.
There was nothing to do.
So Dave told us we could go home. He would spend the night alone. He was sober and calm. No reason for us to stay.
We weren’t planning on things to be this way, but the logic was obvious. For whatever reason, Dave dialed down his drinking on purpose, and didn’t need the company we had planned to give him.
So we left.
After hugs and handshakes on the front lawn, we got into our cars and went home.
My wife thought I was a burglar when I came into the bedroom. She wasn’t expecting me until the next morning.
What came instead that next morning was a phone call. I don’t remember from who. I think they spoke to my wife.
Dave was in trouble. Big trouble. Something was very wrong.
They found him in the house. I don’t remember who. It sounded like maybe he had died but they didn’t quite say that.
I don’t remember where we were going but my wife and I got in the car and sat in traffic at a nearby stop sign.
We were stunned and confused, but at that stop sign, we realized what the caller didn’t have the heart to say.
Dave was dead.
I went numb. I felt like I was dreaming. What happened? We had left him just hours before- he was perfectly fine then. I shouldn’t have left.
I don’t remember where we drove to or who we saw. But they told us that Dave’s death was an accidental suicide.
What the hell is that?
They said it was erotic asphyxiation.
It went wrong, and Dave essentially strangled himself. Accidentally.
Two weeks before his wedding. In the house he and his wife were to live in.