a little tenderness

lloyd died on my kitchen floor at about 1:30 in the morning on friday the 13th, 2018. yesterday. naked from the waist down, blood coming out of his nose from either the fentanyl or the narcan (i had run next door to get narcan after we found him in the bathroom, so i’m not sure if he was bleeding before or after we gave it to him and anyway it doesn’t matter), pallid face slowly losing heat, me on the phone with 911 — “i’m not certified in cpr anymore i was certified in cpr five years ago,” just absolutely frantic, the dispatcher on the other end of the line, very calmly, “you don’t have to be certified” — and then me pushing my housemate ryan’s hands lower to the base of the breast bone, my left hand on top of his hands, 911 in my ear. we push and push and push and push and i tell ryan, “go fucking harder break his ribs it doesn’t matter,” and ryan stops and i yell, “don’t stop keep going,” and he does, and i’m really trying to help break his ribs here when the fire department arrives and takes over. i tell 911 thanks and they say thanks and hang up and we all go outside and talk to a dozen cops and detectives for a while and give statements and correct them when they fuck up the timeline, and wait. another ryan — the one who helped me get the door open — he and i both know he’s dead, and so we don’t bother to stand on tiptoes to look through the kitchen window and assess the situation. there is no breaking news anymore. and anyway news doesn’t break it just unfolds and there usually isn’t a thing you can do about it.

i only remember later that you don’t have to request a person’s permission to perform cpr or first aid when they’re unconscious — that their consent is implied, and that that’s why the 911 dispatcher had told me that i didn’t need certification. i learned this in my certification class, and i remember this as i’m sitting on the steps at the sober house next door to my own at 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning, sitting with everyone else in silence, a light rain falling, waiting for the crime scene unit to take the body away.

when they finally do, my housemate not-cpr ryan and i go back in and throw away the bath mat that’s covered in blood and shit, clean up the blood on the kitchen floor, and mop. tommy, the house manager, helps out and tells us to get some rest, and ryan and i are just like, “it’s fine, tommy.” i spray air freshener to get rid of the smell of death and take out the trash and tommy leaves and ryan and i sit on the couches in the living room and wait for exhaustion to come. when it finally does i go back to my newly single room, lie down and look at lloyd’s bed for a minute or two before rolling over to face the wall and go to sleep.

5 responses to “a little tenderness

  1. So sorry, Tom. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Cathryn O'Hare

    Dear, dear Tom, my heart goes out to you, your companions, Lloyd and those who loved him. God bless you.

    Love, Mom

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Cathryn Keefe O'Hare

    How awful, Tommy. God bless you, your housemates, Lloyd and those who loved him.

  4. Neil Cuykendall

    So sorry Tom. RIP Lloyd.

  5. Pppfffff… Oh man, Tom. Nothing I can say about nothing. Just know that I’m thinking of you, Friend. Be strong.

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