Ode To Mitch: Final Chapter
Memorial Day weekend 2010 was coming up, but while I looked forward to another all nighter in High Land with Mitch, he had different plans –another escape to Key West and the battling lovers. But he was emphatic about connecting as soon as he got back and going to Sebastian, Lauderdale’s gay beach, that coming weekend.
I believed him.
That Thursday night, Mitch sent an e-mail – his last to me – on Manhunt. I had just posted some new provocative photos on my profile to show off my hard won gym body.
“Fucken awesome pics, bro.”
Tuesday came and went, Wednesday, Thursday. I e-mailed him on Manhunt, called his cell, even called his other cell number he used for Rentboy. No response. I passed his address twice, looking for his little car in the front lot. No car. In my gut I knew something had gone terribly wrong. Maybe he had had a confrontation with his warring friends or a drug dealer or a john. Maybe he had somehow O.D.’ed ….
Finally, that Thursday night driving home, slightly plastered courtesy of Alibi’s three dollar Long Island iced teas, I decided I would stop at his place and this time knock on his door.
A voice yelled out to me as I began to walk back to the guest house. It was the landlord or property manager, a tall, skinny, thirty something, pleasant enough looking guy with a faint goatee.
“Looking for Mitch?” he asked politely.
“You a friend of his?” the man asked.
“Something like that.”
“Well, sorry to be the one to tell you this, but Mitch is dead.”
“What – what happened?” I stammered, though surprised at myself that I was not entirely stunned by the news.
“I don’t know much but from what this friend of his from New York, an ex-lover I think, Todd, told me – his number was on Mitch’s cell so the cops called him – Mitch was driving back from Key West late Monday night and fell asleep at the wheel.”
Mitch had mentioned to me more than once how he had gone without sleeping or eating for days when he was on a perpetual crack/G/jerk-off binge.
Forty-two fucken years old and he was gone.
“His – his parents know?”
“Yea, they asked me to clear out his apartment and box up his belongings but there was a lot of stuff, a leather harness, leather vest, toys, drug paraphernalia, you know, I didn’t think they should see. You’re welcome to take what you like …”
I smiled my bleak thank you, turned around and drove home, happy I was dead ass drunk, happy that I had at least learned what had happened to him, happy that the super hadn’t told me what the accident had done to that beautiful body and beautiful face. And yes, strangely at peace knowing he hadn’t just abandoned me.
I had never mentioned Mitch to the handful of people I knew, so there was no point in bringing him up now. Instead, a few nights later, I responded to Mitch’s last e-mail to me on Manhunt with a “thx hot man.”
I’ve met, slept with, and even have had affairs with half a dozen Mitches since then – two, fifty something humps are six feet under, killed by their habit that negated the life saving effects of their HIV drugs. Two others, handsome black Irish fuckers and among the prettiest men I ever had, sadly are on that same dead end journey.
But they say you never forget your first. And for me that will always be my Mitchy.