100. The Frontier

Part 2 of the 'Moriarty' series. (Previously.)

AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, the news came as a shock. And it spread quickly too - for a while it was all we could talk about. An overdose, possibly deliberate. I didn't go to the funeral - I'm not sure who did. Possibly no one, that wouldn't surprise me. I mean, the memory isn't what it used to be, you know. I seem to recall we got the news months after it happened. Don't forget this was in the days when no one had mobile phones. There was no internet. I guess Moriarty wasn't that close to his family and when the time came for the funeral they just didn't know who his friends were, let alone how to get in touch with them. No doubt there were a couple, maybe even a few, the kind of friends who are known to the family, friends from birth, so to speak, the kind of friends you can't shake. Or maybe the family wanted to keep it low-key. given the circumstances. I didn't know his family, so I can't say. They were a tragic family. There were rumours of tragedy, never clearly defined. Architects, I believe, and professors and lawyers. So we missed the funeral. I didn't mind. After all, Moriarty had turned his back on us, there's no denying it. He had distanced himself from us - he considered us too middle class, part of the world he had rejected. But we had never turned our backs on him, I can tell you that for sure. We loved Moriarty, we happily put up with all his abuses, all his outrages. Because in those days we were all more or less at the same point in our lives, standing on some kind of frontier or border with one foot raised, suspended in mid-air. That's one way of putting it, and here's another. In those days we were all on the verge of being dispersed. Not geographically - Moriarty was one of the few of us who managed to escape this town - but in our heads everything was about to come to an end. Maybe some of us already knew it. I didn't. I should have, but I didn't. Because we missed the funeral, someone organised a wake, two or three months after the funeral. It must have been Kelly. In a bar we used to drink in fresh out of school called The Minotaur. I can't remember much except we ask sat around with our beers in our hands blinking like strangers: Kelly, Murphy, Innes, Aloisi, me - the whole gang. I think everyone realised at that point that it was all over. Let me confess something to you, now that it's far behind us. We needed Moriarty, that's the truth of it. He was the absence that glued us together. And he didn't need us. He didn't need us so much he was prepared to die for it, that's the sad truth.