The morning of Aaron’s death, I was playing host to Alex, my visiting doctor friend from Scotland. Sitting on the foot of the guest room bed, I was talking with Alex, who was laying under the sheets. I do not remember anything we were talking about right before the call, but it must have been about our trip to Hollywood the day before. Since this was Alex’s first time to Southern California, I wanted to make sure he got to see all the good (the weather; the beaches) and the bad (grimy Hollywood; traffic galore) of where I call home. He had been staying with me for eight days when I got the call from Bob regarding Aaron.
I know that recalling certain events, especially under the pressure of extreme fear, grief and confusion, can be a little bit fuzzy at best. My favorite crime shows will tell me that 60% of what a witness actually recalls seeing is muddled by a host of mental, physical and arbitrary circumstances. Kinsey Millhone, Sue Grafton’s fascinating detective in the Alphabet Mystery Series, has always dealt with unreliable (or surly) witnesses. But, I’m sure any real life detective will have heard a gazillion times before, but I remember the morning of September 28.
My phone vibrated at 6:00 am with Bob’s picture displaying on my iPhone. It was weird to have him call me, especially that early, so I answered. “Bryan, it’s really bad. It’s really, really bad” was what he told me first.
I guess I should stop for a second to mention that none of this is easy to write about. I’m a writer, and I’ve written about a ton of difficult situations. But they were always someone else’s situation. Never my own. Never about my own twin brother’s early death.
Bob spoke to me for a few more minutes: Aaron was unconscious, being transported to the hospital, with Bob in tow. I called mom and dad, perpetuating that idea that calls happening after midnight but before 7:00 am are never about good news. Having mom pick up that phone in San Mateo, California, some 350 miles away from me, and telling her that Aaron might not survive this whatever the fuck happened to him, haunts my mind to this day. She hung up with me, called Bob where the doctor at the hospital told them both that my brother had died. Mom called me to tell me and I hung up and crawled into Alex’s bed.