Bashar Mati: Apocashitstorm Tour, day 9. I was seeting up my tent right here when Wyatt's call came though. I came as fast as I could, but you'd already slipped into a coma. We never got a chance to say goodbye.
My plan was to go camping here after AMOS-15 launch. I'd been working OT for the past nine months, so I was pretty frazzled and figured I should take a weekend to relax before crunch started up again.
I was setting up my tent when Wyatt's call came through. He'd said it was an emergency. I called a LiftSpin vert and made it to Denver General in less than twenty-seven minutes.
I was too late.
You'd already slipped into a coma. I didn't understand how that could be, but when I told Wyatt to explain, he just kept choking up, waving me towards the care station.
So it was a holo-doc that broke the news. How you'd been diagnosed a year later. The adverse reactions to gene therapy and polymer vascular replacements. The six months of mobile dialysis.
I couldn't believe you'd kept it all secret from me. Even at the height of crunch, I called you once or twice a week. So you just sat there, listening to me enthuse about my latest project or complain about workplace politics - and all the while, you were dying? It didn't make sense.
I marched back to Wyatt, cornered him, and demanded that he explain.
He said you hadn't want to distract me. That I was doing important work and needed to focus.
You know, as though the latest AMOS launch and the palladium and rhodium it'd bring back to earth mattered more than the ma who was already here.
Wyatt kept saying how proud you were of me. He even parroted that "onwards and upwards" phrase of yours. he said I should get back to work, that that's what you would've wanted, that he'd stay at the hospital and keep me informed.
I didn't go back to work. I called in. It took arguing my way past two supervisors, a labyrinthine automated HR menu, a Human Resources AI, and an anal-defensive benefits executive to activate my personal leave, but I did.
And then I sat at your bedside for the next seven days. I kept thinking of the hospital after my OD at the Amphitheater, kept thinking that if you came out of the coma, I wanted my face to be the first thing you saw.
On the eighth day they pronounced you dead.
After the funeral, I went back to work... but I wasn't really there. I kept telling myself to focus, that I was okay to be there. It was what you would've wanted, after all. Onwards and upwards.
But my work fell behind. When my supervisor called me in for an emergency review, I told myself to play it cool, accept the criticism, and promise to do better.
It didn't go like that. I snapped and shouted at him. And then broke down, sobbing uncontrollably.
Two minutes and three sec-drones later, and I was standing outside the Faro building, blinking in the sunshine, straightening my bunched-up clothes. An alert on my Focus indicated that I should go home for the day, then report for a disciplinary review on Monday.
But I didn't go home. Another idea had risen up in my mind, already fully formed. I guess I'd already been thinking of doing it for a while.
I took a LifeSpin to Pioneer Park. Ten minutes of asking around and a TruthTest to show I wasn't a cop was all it took to make a connection.
I went home with the drugs, started using, and didn't stop. Duster. Snake. Skydive. Overcast. No Razorwing, at least.
I didn't take calls, didn't show up for the disciplinary review on Monday morning. A friend stopped by and hammered the door until I answered it. When he saw what was happening, he staged a one-man intervention.
I agreed to go into treatment, but I didn't harbor any illusions. Use of personal leave was bad, but use of psych/SA leave? Career suicide. Sure, they couldn't legally fire me for it. But I'd been around FAS long enough to know they'd find a way. My career was over.
I thought I was at rock bottom, but I was wrong, of course. I still had a long way to fall.