At the time I was really into reading Carlos Castaneda books about expanding consciousness, lucid dreaming, shamans, peyote, etc. I loved those books so much. I remember a few times reading one of them in bed and letting out audible yelps of excitement. Oh, the possibilities of mind expansion...!
Tony and I had always been cordial to each other during first year but never hung out. Then over a few days early in year two, we started to enjoy each others banter during a shared drawing class. He was a tall, read headed with a great sense of humour, but a quick temper. He'd had a few girlfriends - beautiful looking - dark, brooding types. He was popular but edgy.
One night, after some drinking, he couldn't drive or get home, so I offered for him to stay the night at my place. He was already pretty pissed when we got there but we enjoyed hanging out some more. He polished off a half bottle of whiskey on his own. Around one or two, he pretty much passed out. My girlfriend and I helped him into a make shift bed in the lounge room and closed the door and went to bed ourselves. Before sleeping I read some more Castaneda.
I dreamt of a large serpent. Dark and ominous dreams - which are unusual for me. I usually dream of fun, engaging adventures. (Many times, still, this morning included - I wake up and think after a dream - wow, if only life were that good...)
I woke up suddenly to a large crashing and banging. It was still dark. My dream had put me in a spaced-out mode. My girlfriend also woke up. It was really loud and continuous. We turned on the light and opened the door to the lounge room. Standing in the middle of the room was Tony, eyes wide, confused, disoriented. He had a gash on his forehead and his face was bloody. His T shirt was ripped.
He had woken up in the pitch black and not known where he was. In an effort to try and find his way out of the room, he had overturned the dining table, all the chairs, pulled down the bookshelf and smashed almost everything. It was quite an unforgettable moment. Surprise, disbelief, confusion... He looked at us. We looked at him. Our still sleepy minds pieced together what had happened.
"I had to pee..." he said, like a lost little boy. A moment silence. We surveyed the room. It was like a bomb had hit. Our eyes all met again. We all burst out laughing. We laughed and laughed and laughed.
We cleaned the place up somewhat and put a still groggy, patched up Tony back to bed. This time we left the door open. The next morning we all drove to art school. Tony walked home from there, choosing not to attend that day.
Weird thing was; he never came back. I never saw him again. One of his ex girlfriends told me that his pill taking and drinking were pretty bad and that he was prone to blackouts. A few months later, someone else said they saw him passed out in the gutter. Sad, sad, sad.
He had a lovely nature and was a talented artist. His inner demons were too much to deal with. Don't know how he's ended up but what was good about his spirit, his roguish smirk and staccato laugh, his red curly mop and freckles retain a place of merit and respect on the mantlepiece of lost friends in my memory chamber.