This is the story of how it all ended. His life, my life. All of it. But I am not telling you this story because I am in it. No, I want you to read it because of him. Because it has always been him. It's always felt like the universe only existed for him, like the earth was spinning for him, and the sun burning for him. He was the reason for it all. He was the reason I was alive. Breathing. And still, this is the story of how I stopped. And I must admit, it's not at all that bad.
It was a late day in June. He had taken one of those pills again, his lovely dark eyes seemed to sparkle with the magic of being okay for once. In a way, he had always been the saddest person to walk this planet. But whenever he took one of those pills, the boy I had fallen in love with almost ten years ago, was there again. That's why I didn't stop him from taking the pills. I loved the sad, grown, wise man more than anything, but the boy, the boy he had been in Hamburg, was the one who had made me love the man. And maybe I loved the boy a little bit more for that.
He was high. He was completely, goddamn high, and I loved it, because he smiled and he almost laughed and hearing this fragile sound, I had almost forgotten existed during the past years, oh, it was so much better than taking the pills myself.
"You deserve the moon, Richard," he said and I remember a smile lingering on his lips, something I hadn't seen in a while. I smiled back, knowing, that ignoring his confused and dazed words was the best. "You deserve the moon, and all I have are stars..." he muttered and then there was this look in his eyes again, this look of hate. He looked at no one that way, except himself.
His head was resting on the roof, and he was looking at the sky with an expression that told me he would try to catch all lights up there for me. It was a bad thing, that he was willing to take all the light off the world, just for someone like me. If I deserved the moon, he deserved galaxies and universes. I was willing to give him all of it, to search for the very last of meteorites, only he didn't know.
He didn't know I was an astronaut, searching for everything, with my heart on planet earth.
"Don't you think God is a cruel creature? Creating all this beauty only for us to leave it all behind and pass on to somewhere we don't know."
I didn't look up. I was used to him talking like that, with his clever mind and poetic tongue. He was the perfect mix of it all, a beautiful disaster. He didn't even know it, and who was I to tell him? It'd only upset him to hear it again; I had made this mistake before.
He hadn't laughed at me when I had spoken those forbidden words. He hadn't been angry or disgusted. He hadn't even judged me. All he had done was sitting there, smiling in a sad way. "Oh Ringo, how unfortunate it is, that I'm not meant to stay for long," he had said. It hadn't made sense back then, but now it did. He didn't expect to live long, to grow old. Maybe he was such an extraordinary being, that the world wanted to remember him, and who would be thinking of an old man in a hundred years?
In way, I had known, too. That's why I always saved every memory of him, every tiny breath he had taken, every little move he had made. Because his beauty didn't lay in the words he said, or in the way he looked. It was the things he did to the world, and yes, allow me to be that self-centered, to me. The way he looked at everything with such tolerance and kindness, as if he understood the meaning of life itself.
Oh beautiful, beautiful George. Beautiful, sad, sad, sad George. What I would have done to be able to erase the forbidden words I had whispered so long ago. People had told me love was going to save everything, and still, it was my love, that had killed him. If only he would have climbed back into our hotelroom. If only Brian would have told us to go to bed.
But Brian hadn't been there anymore, and maybe it had always been him, who had saved us from ourselves. Because nothing is more dangerous than two people being madly in love. That's what I was. I was in love with him, ever since I had seen him plucking the strings of his guitar back in Hamburg.
And although I loved him, and still do, I now hate him for doing the next move, for standing up on that rooftop in the middle of New York City. I had told him to get back from the edge. Of course he hadn't listened to me. He had always loved the danger, and I wasn't going to keep anything from him, he loved.
I didn't know if he remembered my words. The words I had thought so many times, but only spoken once in a haze of confusion. We had been young and drunk on life, on knowing we didn't know anything.
But on this day, on the rooftop, he said them. The words.
"Do you really love me?" He asked. And I knew he didn't mean the connection on an emotional level between us, but the way I remembered where all his little scars on his fingers, from playing the guitar for too long, were. The way I could describe how his soul smelled.
"Yes," I said. "I do."
He laughed. It was a carefree laugh, a sound I hadn't heard leaving his lips for what seemed like eternities. He was still standing on the edge, and now he moved his foot. One part of his body being on the roof, the other one above the nothingness.
I told him to move away. I said this was dangerous, I begged him not to do anything stupid. But I didn't dare touching him. I should have pulled him away, but there was something in his eyes, that made me think, that this was how it was meant to be. Hadn't he always been dangling on the edge? A not visible edge, the edge between heaven and hell.
"Prove it, then," he said and the smile didn't leave his lips. I looked at him, and I knew I wouldn't mind never saying the words again, never telling him again, because it was so natural to love him, it seemed ridiculous, that anyone could think I didn't.
His body was now bent over the edge, and I wondered if it was magic, that he didn't fall. His expression was free and I knew this was where he belonged, in the middle of all chaos. I remember his eyes glimming with the thrill of life and death, and I got lost in those eyes for a second too long.
"Jump then, if you love me," he said and then he fell, no, he flew and I heard myself screaming. Whether it was his name or just a sound of fear, I didn't know. It seemed like one moment I was sitting on the roof, and the next I was already throwing myself after him; there was no inbetween.
His body moved so elegant and I felt my heart ache with seeing such beauty. I knew I was going to die, and I didn't mind. Not when this was the last thing I was going to see. Not when George was here with me. I started to fall quicker and then he was next to me, and I threw my arms around him, because the thought of never touching him again was so painful, I was bursting.
I could feel his heartbeat and the shaking of his body. At first I thought it was fear, but then I saw he laughed. He laughed like mad, looking at me and I couldn't help laughing back.
For one moment everything froze and then I heard his voice.
"I love you, too, Ringo," he yelled.
Then we hit the ground.