Brothers: Recollections of hide
Author: Matsumoto Hiroshi
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My Last Glimpse of His Silhouette
That morning I had gotten back home to Yokosuka around 7:30. I had dozed off at the table, head pillowed on my arms, when the phone rang.
It was the office. Calling to inform me that hide had been taken in an ambulance to the Hiroo Hospital where he remained unconscious.
Ambulance......? Unconscious? What did he get himself into this time?
On the spot all I felt was vaguely upset, convinced that hide had gotten drunk once again.
I had escorted him home barely an hour earlier, at 6:30 in the morning. So it was highly unlikely that he had gone out again.
Had he tripped and fallen at home or something?
Each year several "incidents" would leave their marks on hide's body, the results of his violent drunken exploits. Just in the past three years he had broken his bones twice.
However, never before had I heard of him being taken away by an ambulance.
A vague sense of apprehension, the feeling that this was no simple incident, gradually took hold of me. I immediately called my parents and informed them of the situation.
It was a fifteen minute drive from my house to theirs. When I picked them up my father took the wheel and I decided to take a nap in the passenger seat; I practically hadn't slept since the previous night.
I think we were speeding down the highway nearing Tokyo when my phone rang. It was turning out to be a harried morning.
It was the boss from X's office.
"Please, hear me out calmly. At 8:52...."
A chill ran through my entire body when I heard him say the time.
"He passed away..."
Behind me my mother let out a small cry. My father drove on looking grim. It simply couldn't be true. I had been with hide up until a little while ago. Yet despite these thoughts I immediately got my father to pull off the highway and took the wheel over from him.
By the time we arrived at the Hiroo Hospital staff from the office were awaiting us impatiently by the car bumper posts outside the building. Some people's faces looked drained of color, others had reddened eyes.
No, then it really was true? All of a sudden my heart was pounding. hide really was dead?
The moment I stopped the car the tears came unbidden, spilling down my cheeks.
Everyone crowded in to look at me.
"Hiroshi-san, what happened?"
I'm the one who wants to know what happened!
I watched as my parents were directed inside the hospital, but found myself unable to leave the driver's seat. I couldn't hold back my tears. I didn't believe that hide was dead yet I simply could not stop crying.
Why the hell did this have to happen?
I was in shock, my body refusing to listen to me as I continued to sit there.
"You should hurry before they take hide-san away...."
Urged on, I somehow managed to get out of the car.
The consultation room. hide had been laid on his back.
"He was already in cardiac arrest by the time he was brought the hospital."
The nurse standing beside me explained softly that he had gone into respiratory distress.
I wonder if this wasn't the very moment I learned they suspected suicide.
Bullshit. He's really just asleep, isn't he.
If I call his name he'll leap out of bed and greet me like he usually does during a tour.
Again the nurse's voice brought me back to reality.
"We need to bring him to the morgue now. If you could wait over there, please."
The morgue... Why would they bring him there?
Unable to stop reality from making its way back in blow after blow, I turned away from our group and went in the opposite direction.
Back in the car, I remembered Mayuko-chan. What would happen to her now that hide was gone? He who had been a constant presence cheering her on in her fight against illness.
Those were my first thoughts.
After all he had been a support, miraculously prolonging her life.
There was absolutely no reason for hide to take his own life. It was at this very hospital that he had signed himself up as a blood marrow donor. I recalled his expression on that particular day and started crying again.
It can't be true!
Three hours earlier at our parting hide had certainly seemed a bit off, however that didn't necessarily mean anything, did it? Was it that which led to his death?
Starting the previous morning, hide and the members of Spread Beaver had all taken part in the recording of TV shows, which then ended at 10:30 in the evening.
The after party for which they had made their way together to Gotanda was lively as usual, and in the end they had drifted to their favourite bar in Nishi-Azabu where they greeted the morning.
hide had come back to Japan from a three month long stay in L.A. barely five days ago, on April 27th. It had been nearly a month and a half since the last time he had met up and had a chat with everyone, ever since the recording of his new single's promotional video.
As I recall, the conversation that fateful night was light. It steered clear of the upcoming release of two new songs and of the tour schedule, the specifics of which had already started to take shape. The members drank the night away, making a racket you might expect from high school students on lunch break.
I think however that hide was physically exhausted from days with no rest, an overlapping promotion schedule and little sleep, busy since the very moment he returned to Japan. And on top of that, meeting friends for the first time in a long while. He must have been on the verge of crashing.
When it was time to leave I went to get him at the bar, and found him arguing with the other members on the steps outside. Well, that in itself however was nothing unusual. You couldn't count the number of times his drinking had devolved into a fight.
But no matter how vicious the fight, when I brought him home after he would always throw me a parting "see you" or, "take care going back", something of the kind.
Except that night it seemed like he wasn't in the mood. Perhaps he was just that drained.
Out of the blue, he asked me.
"So what do you think?"
"About what? I don't understand."
When I answered, about to stop the car, he spat out his reply.
"Hiroshi, not you too!"
Those became his last words to me.
"Wait a moment, please, I must have misunderstood... " My words were cut off before I could finish when hide slammed the door shut.
Then he disappeared alone inside the building.
Whenever he had a bag with him I would without fail always take it up to his room. Except that was the one day he did not have one. And that too was unusual. I do wonder how things would have unfolded if I had accompanied him all the way to his room....
Tortured by these regrets I sat in the car, head in my hands.
Watching him leave I had not seen him stagger once, nor did he seem in distress. Quite on the contrary, after he disappeared inside I heard something being kicked so violently that it scared the life out of me.
The usual outcome was that hide would call the next day and settle the matter with an apology.
"You know, I don't remember a thing. Did I say anything yesterday? I'm sorry, alright?"
After every fight. However that time I felt he was bothered by something a little different than usual.
I wonder, what in the world was hide angry at?