It was what we loved and hated about him.
Will came wrapped in an emotionally broken package, carelessly stapled together with an over-consumption of liquor.
Almost everything that poured out of his mouth was fiction. He was in a rock band. He had his graduate degree in art. He was going to be famous.
I knew him long before we became friends. But I remember the minute it changed. We were standing outside Jonny's downtown loft one winter evening, sipping champagne and tipsily reciting lyrics from Hand in Glove.
"I used to hang out with Morrissey back when I lived in LA," Will casually told me, flicking a spark of fiery cigarette ash onto the snow-covered sidewalk.
I laughed at him. It wasn't true. But I didn't care.
"You're gorgeous," he told me seriously, looking into my eyes.
I smirked back.
We spent most of our nights running around town, chugging wine from the bottle and puking in alleys. We danced in neon-lit gay bars. We snuggled together, watching horror movies. We climbed rooftops for no reason. We were such an all-American pair.
The man with tattoos. The girl in the sun dress.
Lounging on the sprawling lawn outside the art museum one summer afternoon, he asked me to run away to St. Louis with him. It'll be fabulous, he said. We need to run away together, Jenny Bunny, it would be so fabulous.
So fabulous, so fabulous.
I laughed into the sky.
"So fabulous," I whispered, watching the clouds stare back at me.
A warm spring evening, we met at one of our usual hangouts. He was with a boy.
"I'm so in love," Will said, gazing at the cute curly-haired guy smiling back at him. "This is it. This is the rest of my life."
"When did you two meet?" I asked.
"Two days ago," Will said, dreamily.
They stayed together for more than a year.
At 2 a.m. on a chilly fall night we found ourselves at a park overlooking the river. Sitting on a rock.
"I love you, Jenny Bunny," he said.
I love you too.
"You're the most fabulous girl I know," he said.
"Let's run away together," he said.
"Santa Fe," he said.
(But we stayed.)
It wasn't long before his life completely spun into oblivion. Drunk nights led to emergency room drama. His temper got out of control. He used people, especially his boyfriend. We all started to avoid him.
And the lies. So many exposed. What was real? What was fake? Who was he? Did he exist?
After a nasty break-up with his boyfriend, he moved back to his hometown, a few hours south.
He called me several times. Laughing. Talking. Lying.
And then we had our first and only fight. Bitterness was spit at each other. Goodbye.
We were out of each other's lives.
I thought I would never see him again. And I was right. I'll never have that chance.
Two days ago, his life was taken away as recklessly as he lived it.
And as I'm still trying to digest this reality, all I can do is think about those two words he always brought up.