Never in a million years would I have wished him dead.
But he did die at his best friend’s wedding two days later. And this is how I guess it happened.
John was the best man. Crew necks and ripped jeans was his usual wear. He was covered in tattoos, and had long greasy black hair tied back in a ponytail. Even into his late thirties, that was his signature look.
But this night was different. This was a night of celebration. He looked good in his rented tux, strutting around the banquet hall as if he owned it. Even though it was due back the next day.
The ceremony was over and the pictures had already been taken. Now, he was going to get shitfaced, guaranteed. He drowned himself in drink after drink and dance after dance. He lost track of the tux jacket. The clip-on tie was no where to be found. His chest had been sore all day, but he was too drunk to care.
The real pain started just before midnight when a crushing blow to his heart had him keeling over. He instinctively knew something was wrong. He stared out at the dance floor, packed with people before him.
No one noticed at first. The noise, the music, the dim lights were all competing for attention. He could see the groom, Jake, spinning his new bride in her white dress, both life long friends of his. Beads of sweat began to breakout on John’s forehead. He braced himself on the empty table behind him. Sharp pains shot up like fire along his left arm and he collapsed onto the floor, clinging to the white linen tablecloth.
A random guest passing by asked him if he was okay. He opened his mouth to speak but his breath felt heavy.
“I…I think I’m having a…heart attack.” He barely believed the words.
Instantly, the eyes of the middle-aged woman widened. Her face turned pale against her dark blue cocktail dress.
“Oh my God, we have to call 9-1-1,” she said before turning to no one in particular. “Somebody call 9-1-1! The best man is having a heart attack!”
A crowd began to form. The groom and bride appeared before him. John’s eyes began to water. He clutched at his shirt, ripping loose the plastic buttons. But nothing could soothe the fierce grip on his heart. The paramedics finally arrived. They rushed him into the ambulance. Jake jumped in with him, leaving his bride behind. John watched as the doors swung shut and the engine revved. A pair of scissors gleamed in the bright spot light as the paramedic cut off what remained of his shirt and vest.
And that’s all I know. Or at least, all I can imagine.
John made it to the hospital. But he never made it home.
I don’t know this story. I don’t even know John. I only know the John who yelled at me two days before the wedding, ranting and whining to me about an issue with his tux that wasn’t mine to fix. He was horrible. I never wanted to deal with him again.
Never in a million years would I have wished him dead. And the store is still waiting for him to return his tux.