I wake up, and you're gone

Bernard slowly lifted his eyes, his blurred vision reluctantly coming into focus. But he didn't move. He didn't want to. What was the point, when he wasn't there? Knowing that eventually he had to go downstairs for more wine and cigarettes, Bernard dragged himself from his bed and moped towards the staircase and then slowly plodded down each one.

The TV's still on. And I sit, and I watch another re-run.

He tried to ignore the voices from the television that Manny had left on. He couldn't turn it off. He didn't bother getting any breakfast, but just sat on the chair with his newly opened bottle and a fresh cigarette in his mouth. There was some film playing, but he watched it absent-mindedly anyway without bothering about missed plot.

She is left all alone…

The film just reminded him. Of the pain. The agony. The guilt. And the loneliness. He was only half-watching, but the main character had been abandoned…just how he felt. As the dialogue continued, he noticed just how quite it was around him now. Looming silence, that's what it was. The absence of small noises made by Manny's frolicking about the kitchen in the morning. All was still now. It will always be still now.

Her lover's out to sea. And I can't help but feel that she is just like me.

Empathy was rare for Bernard, but in this case he did relate. More because it was focused on himself instead. He frowned at the TV, disliking the close relation it bore with his predicament. But the frown devolved into a sorrowful sigh as he took a large drink from the bottle – wine glasses were pointless now. The numbing feeling came quicker from the bottle. It hurt, to think of how embarrassed he was then when now he wished he had him back. It was so secret, even for him during the day. Now, all Bernard wanted to do was to go back and do it again… properly. Or ideally, Manny still there with him – and this time make a commitment. Knowing that the shop would be open soon, he scuffled out through the curtain into the front of the shop.

And I gave, all I could, but it wasn't good enough

After all he did for Manny, giving him the job and the housing – and he had to go like that. He gave nothing but friendship and more in the end, did it mean nothing? Bernard snarled at himself for that thought. For the first time he could remember, he actually looked at himself in hindsight truthfully. He had been awful to Manny. And it had been good enough for him. With a pained exhale, he realised just how horrid he had gotten, particularly near the end. That didn't change anything, he wasn't going to go off and be a happy polite person now – but in all honesty to himself, setting his ego aside, Manny was the one that gave to him. And he just took it blindly.

And you said that you would be here before I woke up

Bernard's thought turned bitter in pain as he remembered Manny saying that he'd be home before Bernard woke. He hadn't even been drinking that much, so Bernard assumed it would be fairly early. But it wasn't. He woke alone that morning, confused. Slightly angry at Manny for not coming back earlier, or for going off and sleeping in his bed – since they both used Manny's bed now, for hygiene he had told Bernard. But he wasn't there. He wasn't in the kitchen or in the bookshop that Bernard currently looked over with a disheartened sigh.

Now you're gone.

The dusty air was empty now. He wasn't there. And he wasn't coming back. Bernard just wanted to cry. Quietly, and half-heartedly, he tried to hold back the tears but it was to no avail – they streamed down his face as he finished gulping down the wine in the bottle. He hadn't been down the stairs since that day. He hadn't eaten since then. Just drank. They have been the longest three days of his life – from that morning to this one. He hadn't spoken since then either. He could still hear the angry shouts he gave to the empty kitchen that morning. The memory stabbed him harder in the chest.

I don't know why my heart still beats.

He was numb. There seemed nothing but the pain. He had felt it before, when his girlfriend died – or so he had thought anyway – but it wasn't like this. This pain was relentless and never ending. The sorrow from Emma never really left, it stayed buried deep within underneath layers of wine. And he knew that this pain wouldn't ever leave either. But it would stay this bad. Forever. He couldn't take that – Bernard failed to see the point of continuing on, when everyone he loved left him… alone.

When I can't feel anything.

Bernard didn't quite realise how disjointed from reality he was until someone entered the shop – and he didn't notice until the customer poked him. His eyes were red, and still running, and they looked straight through the woman talking to him. He looked down from her, not even registering that she was making sounds. He was just too numb. Why? Why was it always him? Slowly Bernard rose, releasing a small sigh, and glided into the kitchen behind the curtain to get another bottle of wine. He didn't notice – or care – that the woman left.

'Cause I gave all I could but it wasn't good enough

That sentence resounded in his mind. Had he done wrong? Was it all his fault? Why was he gone, and not still with him? Bernard could barely stand, half from the alcohol, and so lent against the sink and peered into the dark drain hole. A dark hole, that's what it was now. And he was always going to be there. Only now did he see just how big that gaping hole was that Manny took up, and how far down a hole he was even when he had Manny with him. Now…now he was so far down it was pointless trying to climb up.

And you said that you would be here before I woke up

They hadn't told Fran. Manny had been a little nervous about it, but Bernard was adamantly ashamed. And that was a searing hot blade that constantly pierced his chest now. So they just pretended everything was the same – or at least tried to. Bernard couldn't tell that Fran figured something was going on, she was really observant about these things. But she had waited until they were ready. Bernard regretted having to breathe between the gulps of wine he tipped down his throat as he returned to his normal chair. He hadn't come back; and Bernard beat himself up that he and Fran were drinking a little and having fun when…it happened.

Now you're gone

Curled up in his chair, with the sheet that was on the floor wrapped around him, Bernard softly sobbed to himself. Secretly, he hated himself for getting that much more emotionally attached to Manny in those last few weeks – because of how much it hurt now that he was gone. But at the same time, he was angry at himself for thinking that – when he wouldn't change what they had. Not now.


He wasn't coming back. He would be alone forever; or feel this bad until he found someone else to love and it would happen all over again. It seemed to be a never-ending pattern. Only Fran had stayed with him – but even she wasn't here now. Sure, she had been mourning on her own (partly due to Bernard's insistent irresponsiveness when she had been there with him), but she had come in at least a few times a day to see him. How long until she was gone too? Should he save himself the trouble of finding out what it would feel like to be stuck in this cycle for many years to come?

Now you're gone

Fran had come back, and was surprised to see Bernard downstairs. She approached him, and rubbed him gently on the arm. She knew that he was taking this really badly – he had already been in a bad shape beforehand, and he had lost much more than she had. Again, Bernard didn't respond to Fran. He didn't even hear her talking. She was hurting, and she was getting really concerned about Bernard now too – he hadn't said a word or eaten a thing since. He barely looked at her, like his eyes were glazed over and unable to see her. He just drank himself into a stupor. Admittedly, she'd had a few more drinks than normal lately.


Bernard didn't know how long she had been there, but she left just then. As well. They all leave. They always will. The thoughts swirled in his head, over and over, as he continued to softly sob. He couldn't stop. It was all just so hopeless – when Manny had been there, that feeling hadn't bothered him for a while. Now … it consumed him.

Why don't you take me with you?

Time passed slowly, and Bernard just stayed where he was. He couldn't even be bothered drinking anymore wine. He was sick of it. There wasn't a point to anything anymore. He wanted to be with Manny. He wanted Manny to come back, and if he couldn't stay then Bernard would follow him back to wherever he went. Thoughts passed through his mind, dark but relieving thoughts. He looked towards the curtain, and was drawn to that relief. He felt so horrible; he willingly gave in to the small peace that it brought him by standing and going back out into the kitchen.

Come and take me with you.

He tried to remember something he'd read while that little voice in his mind told him everything would be ok. His eyes scanned the room, and he found the drawer he was after. Pulling it open, he removed a relatively large bottle from it. He took it to the table where he tipped the contents out, and the tablets spilled across the surface. This will help with the pain, he thought to himself as he crushed them into a pile that he then put into two wine glasses.

Come take me with you.

He was done. This will help. He poured the glasses with wine until all the powder had dissolved, and walked upstairs. He sat on Manny's bed, which had become shared between them, and put one glass down on the bedside table. Mournfully, he stroked the pillow where Manny slept. He then swallowed the contents of the glass in one mouthful, and quickly followed it by the other glass. It was disgusting, but worth it in the end he concluded.

Come take me with you.

It wasn't long before he felt the effects. His vision blurred and slowly faded to black as he collapsed backwards upon the bed – ending up laying there, unconscious, awkwardly half on and half off the mattress.

Fran softly knocked on the door downstairs, returning again to check on Bernard. She thought that she might stay there for a while, to make sure he was ok and try to get him to eat. She was worrying herself sick back at her place, along with the grief. She called out, but there was no response as usual. He wasn't at his chair, so she went behind the curtain to see if he was watching the TV she could hear going. Empty again, but she noticed the mess on the table and investigated. It was then she dove into panic, and started screaming out for Bernard as she ran up the stairs. Panting, she found him on Manny's bed – motionless. Fear gripped her, and her heart practically stopped. She ran to him, and desperately called to his lifeless body that – much to her relief – was still slowly breathing. She started crying as she grabbed him and held him tight to her as she reached for her phone and called for help.

'Cause I gave all I could but it wasn't good enough

Bernard woke to see bright lights shining down upon him. Thinking maybe he'd succeeded, he looked around to try and find Manny. But he just saw the white stark walls of a hospital room, and then it hit him – he'd survived. His heart sank, and he still felt as horrible as before. But physically worse now. He didn't bother moving. He tried the best he could, but failed. It wasn't good enough.

And you said that you would be here before I woke up

Fran was sleeping in the chair next to his bed, but woke suddenly at the sound of his bed crumpling from Bernard's movements. She looked pained, and like she was very hung over. But maybe it was just because she was tired and stressed? She had been sitting there, waiting for him to wake, for a long time. Bernard said nothing, but just looked at her with questioning eyes. She rose and hugged him, a long and tight hug. He could hear her this time, telling him that it would be ok – that they'd get through it together. Bernard was sceptical, and still felt the same as before.

Now you're gone.
Fran talked to him for what seemed like forever, and he didn't make a sound. But he listened. Manny always listened to him. Apparently, it would get easier to accept over time that Manny was gone. And that he wasn't alone. No doubt he'd be forced into receiving help with that now, he scowled to himself. But as Fran held his hand, that immense feeling of hopelessness lifted slightly. Maybe…just maybe…it won't be like this forever. Maybe he could move on. But he'd always remember. It would seem that only time would tell.