James was a bartender at the restaurant where I worked as a dishwasher and line cook. He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. He was like a sculpture or a model. He was the only person I had ever met that actually worked out in a gym and was compulsively healthy, always eating vegetarian and organic. He’d take surf trips to Costa Rica and come back tan and stoked.
All the girls were crazy for him of course because he wasn’t just handsome, he was nice. But I guess none of us knew much about him really because one day he died. Alone, in his bedroom, in an apartment above a bar near where I lived. He was doing heroine by himself and he od’d. His roommate found him the next day.
Obviously we were shocked and devastated and confused. How could that strong, tan, healthy, beautiful man die? And from a heroine overdose? His physical perfection hid his secret struggle. At 27 he was gone and his beautiful body was shipped back to the East Coast to be with his family and I can’t even stand the thought of them experiencing that.
A couple of days after he died he walked into my room and sat on the end of my bed. We began talking but I don’t remember what we said. Suddenly my door burst open and Roger, my roomate’s dog, barged into the room barking at us.
I looked back at James but he was gone. He had only been there in my dream I guess.