Friday, 24 April 2009 - 2:25 pm


After we had said goodbye to Sax and he had been covered with a blanket, we were at a loss for what to do next. I think we all felt like we should do something, but no-one was quite sure what.

“We can’t just leave him like that,” Matt said when we were starting to pack up again.

He had a point; it wasn’t right to just leave him there to rot. Something might eat him. The idea of letting the rain wash him out of the world made my skin crawl, and I wasn’t alone in my revulsion. Fire, perhaps? But it would take time to build a pyre big enough, and we would have to light it in the morning to be sure that the rain wouldn’t put it out before he was properly ashen. None of us wanted to risk setting fire to this whole block by lighting him where he lay.

“We shouldn’t waste a day on that,” was Thorpe’s contribution on the subject of the pyre. He wasn’t wrong.

We threw the matter back and forth a few times. Then Masterson distracted us by holding up a couple of slender bottles and suggesting we raise a glass in Sax’s honour. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Neat vodka is not nice. Cheap, lukewarm neat vodka is positively nasty. It scorched all the way down and made us grimace painfully. Still, that didn’t stop us. We each toasted him – everyone had something that they wanted to say. Of course, we took a shot for each toast; in retrospect, not the wisest move.

Ben: “For being a good friend, to all of us.”

Thorpe: “For always putting your shoulder in with the rest of us, even when you should have taken it easy.”

Matt: “For accepting me without question and helping me feel a part of the group.”

Me: “For helping us know how to say goodbye and reminding us how to sing.”

By the fourth glass, we were all wavering in that happy-fuzzy way (except the kids, who were on soda, much to Dillon’s disappointment). I snuck a little vodka into his next shot of cola, and he made a face when he swallowed it.

Dillon: “For never making me feel like a kid.”

Sally: “For forgiving me, and being there when I needed someone to talk to.”

Masterson: “For those of us left behind.”

Even Nugget gave one, the last of our group: an eloquent, “Sax.”


I don’t remember a lot after that. There was more drinking and we started telling stories. Little private things that none of the rest of us knew. The first time we saw Sax, the things he used to do, how we never heard him play his saxophone. I used to hear him play all the time, busking when the world was right, but then it all fell down and broke his instrument. It feels like a metaphor that I’m too hung over to grasp fully.

We were sluggish in getting up this morning, worn out and sickly in that post-alcohol way. I craved one of my dad’s disgusting fry-ups – eggs and bacon and mushrooms and– just thinking about it is making me hungry all over again. Cold beans in a can is not the best way to tackle a hangover. Okay, not feeling hungry any more.

One side-effect of the hangovers is that none of us want to move Sax’s body. Masterson shrugged and said that we should let nature take him, and for once there was no argument to his idea.


This whole episode has made me realise something. I’m an idiot and time is not our friend. It’s past midday already; we’re wasting dry daytime stumbling around as it is.

We’re almost ready to leave. I have to do this now, or it’ll be too late.

I have to tell them that I want us to go north. I want to find my dad.