These pallets were dumped in front of the church next to my sons school. It was very hard to see them there, day in and day out.
Cam mentioned pallets the last time I ever saw him. We had a long rambling conversation, as usual. About many things. He expressed distaste and frustration at this stupid, shitty world. I agreed. He was getting towards the end of his tether in life. It was scary. What could I say to simultaneously express my understanding but also make him stay? My mind trying so hard to bring him back, encourage him to not take himself away.
He was always full of some plan, some scheme for a start-up. My brother was creative and clever and wanted to be rich and have a beautiful smart wife and build his own house some day. He wanted to MAKE things, make something of himself like he watched his friends do. Working in the mines or construction was not where his heart lay. He knew he could do better.
"Eed, I've been looking onsite and noticing all these pallets lately. You can do heaps of shit with pallets, I've started researching how to make pallet furniture."
YES! BINGO! PERFECT!
"Ohhh, MATE, YES! Make them ... do it! We need a new coffee table. If you knock a few things up, we could sell them on my blog, start up an online shopfront. Awesome idea!"
We spoke about it for ages. A few days later I emailed him with heaps of photos of tables, chairs stools, all made from recycled pallets. They were hipster cool, colourful. I had utterly no doubt that my brother could make them.
There was still hope, see. There is always hope.
The policeman who was first on the scene at Cams suicide finally called me back a few days ago. I was driving home from the beach, and as soon as I saw the word "private" on my phone I knew who it was. Rocco was asleep in the backseat, thank goodness. During the whole conversation I had to actually gulp my cries, swallow them back down to be let out later.
He was really sorry that he couldn't tell me which way Cams head fell when he died. Because of the gas, the firemen had to go in first and turn things off, open windows, try to resuscitate, give the all-clear. But he did tell me that Cam lay himself down on the tarp towards the living room window, facing away from the front door. He literally turned his back on the world. I felt glad? Good, Cam. You do that. Fuck the world. I get it. And I know you had every right but up until that very last nitrogen breath there was still hope.
I am reeling, dealing daily with conundrums, confusion. If I understand why life was not worth living to Cam, how on EARTH is it worth living for me? His death has splintered and triggered everything that has ever happened in my own life. Faultlines, man. Beware. I will never love like this again. Love can go fuck itself.
The policeman told me that Cam was so meticulous in his planning and instructions and letters. That usually a suicide happens after somebody decides on the spur of the moment to just fuck check out, leaving a hastily scrawled note of goodbye. Cams father left a hastily-scrawled note. Cam didn't. He was a better man than his dad.
I asked the copper if he's been to any suicides since Cam. He said no, he hasn't. He told me that he still thinks about Cam. I told him Cam was a beautiful man. He told me he could already see that. He said he and his colleagues couldn't believe that Cam thought enough to leave them a note too.
Oh Cammie you would have been a great dad!
The pallets are gone, now. I'm not sure what's worse - seeing them there or not seeing them there. Their absence means that somebody eventually did something with them, and that somebody was not my brother.
The day after he died (he died/he's gone) we stood in his flat, going through the possessions that he didn't throw out. I found a plastic bag with a popular bookshop logo on it. Inside was a brand new unopened book that, according to the receipt, was bought just ten days before. It was called "How to Make Pallet Furniture."