My Friend Has Been Killed With an Axe


Sometimes when death comes it is like a poor relation, an unwelcome houseguest who just won’t leave.

The man the police found hacked and bludgeoned to death under the bed was once my friend– in fact, he was more than a friend.

I left out part of the story last night, the story of my first relapse. One of the reasons (other than the fact that I’m an alcoholic) that I wanted to drink again was so that Brian (whom I had met in sobriety) and I could drink together– and if we could drink together, perhaps he would love me like I wanted him to love me.

Brian and I had dated briefly and had a torrid and passionate affair– but he was unable to let go of guilty feelings around his homosexuality, his strict Baptist upbringing and his love for and need for approval from his parents precluded any level of self-acceptance where same sex attraction was concerned. I feel deeply and passionately in love. He was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen and the concept that a man could be gay and not act like the stereotype was a completely new concept to me. I just knew this was the man that God had in mind for me! There was nothing that could convince me otherwise.

On the night before I was admitted to the hospital, I was at Brian’s house. We’d grilled steaks and each bought a bottle of bourbon. I drank my whole bottle and then later snuck out of bed to drink what was left of his. He woke up and found me staggering blind-drunk around the house.

I had written a letter to Brian, a letter that I had intended to leave for him the next day. In my drunken stupor, I decided to read him the letter that night instead. This is embarrassing: the letter was a suicide letter of sorts. Actually it was a “if you can love me and be with me forever, meet me at Oak Mountain State Park at such-and-such time. If not, there will be no reason for me to go on living.” See? Embarrassing. Brian talked me into going back to bed and said we’d talk about it all in the morning.

We did talk about it in the morning and we both decided that sobriety was a much better option for us both, two admitted alcoholics who had known a little of the peace and serenity that comes from corking the bottle and working a program of recovery. But as I told you last night, I was already in pretty bad shape physically and when I attempted not to drink that day, the DTs (delirium tremens) started. We called one of the counselors at an out patient treatment program I’d taken part in. She showed up with a couple of bottles of beer and I drank them on the way to the hospital where I was kept from seizures with Dilauded and detoxed with Librium over the next few days.

Dealing with such acute alcoholism would have been hard enough but I was also absolutely insane over Brian. I wanted so badly to be with him, for him to be mine in a way that he was unwilling to be with any man. Brian came with another friend to visit me at the treatment center but because they were not on “the list,” they turned him away. When I found this out, I flipped out on the staff and that was when I checked myself out AMA (against medical advice). I continued to try to change Brian’s mind but he would hear nothing of it and let me know that he was going to go back to church and pray even harder for God to make him straight. My obsession with him threatened my newly regained sobriety and indeed my sanity.

That is when I moved to Mobile and Brian was a good part of why I left Birmingham. I tried as best I could to just put him out of my mind. Within a week I was drinking again and slowly, over the next several months, I was able to put Brian out of my mind for the most part.

A couple of times in the years that followed, I tried to make contact with him. I knew that he continued to struggle even after I’d been sober a while and even after I had “moved on” romantically, I hoped that I could be a friend to Brian as he struggled with drinking and in the way so many raised-in-the-church gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people do. Brian continued to want to have nothing to do with me and eventually I let go.

Well, not exactly. I let go of the idea that I would ever be able to have him in my life and I let go of ever trying to have any contact with him,  but there was a special place he occupied in my heart and in my story that continues to be precious to me. A part of me stayed in love with Brian, even long after we lost contact and I would think of him from time to time, always with a touch of regret and longing– but always with love.

Tonight a friend and I went to the movies. When I got outside, I had a text from a dear friend who also knew Brian. “Brian Beavers is not longer with us. Bizarre story. Call me when you can for details.” My body turned to electricity. So very many men from my past have died. Now here is the next.

I called Smooch, the friend who had texted, to get the details and then scoured the news sources to see what I could learn. The investigation is ongoing but basically at this point it is clear that a young man who had been staying with Brian beat my long-lost friend to death with an “axe-like tool” and tried to hide his body under the bed. Good God! what an awful way to die! And Brian– well, no one does– but especially as sweet man like Brian who was kind and good– what a horrible way for him to go!

I am still in shock and disbelief. I loved Brian. I am sad and sorry he’s dead.

I’m ready to not have anyone else die for a bit. I am ready for a stretch of happy stories.

I’m ready for Death to pack its fucking bags and go.

See y’all tomorrow.

About this entry