Category Linkin Park

Okay by Umi


A text from Talinda.

i just had chester on the phone. he didn't sound well. plz go see him. i'm not in town. gonna call him again now to keep him busy.

It's 2am.

You just got ready for bed; got rid of your paint-stained clothes, brushed your teeth... but a moment later you're already in your car.

The streets are empty. It only takes you 45 minutes to his house.

You ring the doorbell.

Ring again.

Ring another time, already contemplating the best ways to break in, if that doesn't work.

He opens the door, a frown on his face, the phone on his ear.

You offer an apologetic grin.

"... fuck, Talinda, seriously?"

You can't understand what she's saying, but her voice sounds both gentle and firm.

He sighs, takes a step aside to let you in and walks away, pouting some more at his wife.

The opened whiskey bottle on the kitchen table doesn't surprise you. Not really. You know him after all and knew he had been drinking the moment he opened the door.

You're worried. But you can't do anything about that as long as he's still on the phone, so you busy yourself by making coffee. After all you can't know how long this night might get.

He puts his phone away. Looks at you. Sighs. Looks at the bottle. Sighs again, when he realizes, that you have seen it, too.

You two talk for a while. You ask him if he's ok, he says he doesn't want to talk about it, so you talk about something else until trying to keep up the small talk becomes too much of a chore and the both on you sit on the couch in silence.

You muster up courage you weren't even aware you had (or needed) and tell him, what he means to you. That he's important to you and you want him to be ok.

He hears you, but your words seem to bounce back from him without an effect.

You take his hand and when he looks up at you, you tell him again. This time you even use the word "love", although it makes you feel horribly vulnerable. Even though it's just him. You keep on talking anyway, and tell him that it's unconditional. You love him when he doesn't feel like cracking stupid jokes, you love him when he can't even muster up a smile, you love him when he doesn't feel like doing anything at all, when he has been drinking, when he's selfish and even when he lashes out because he's hurt.

It makes you feel like you cut yourself open with a glass shard, which is stupid.

Because this is him.

You tell him that, of course, it's not that you don't care if he can't joke, can't smile, drinks, lashes out, but it doesn't change anything about what he means to you. He doesn't have to do anything to be important to you. All you're asking for is that he just... Is.

He just needs to not stop existing.

And maybe, hopefully, give you - or anyone else - a chance to help him, if he can't do it alone.

He stares at you.


A bit helpless, a bit overwhelmed, and a bit annoyed, too, because how dare you disrupt that comfortable downward-spiral of self-hate he embarked on just like that.

And then he calls you an idiot and says he loves you, too, and the word comes so easy for him you can't help but envy him.

(Sometimes you imagine he would tell you these things, too. Tell you that he still loves you even when you drift off to your own little world again and forget other people exist. Tell you he still loves you when you occupy the bathroom on tour for half an hour or more, because you're actually the vainest douchebag in the band, worse than even him. And that he still loves you when you can't come up with new lyrics, new beats, new melodies, and show up to your recording sessions completely unprepared, because sometimes smiling doesn't come easy to you, either, but that's okay. You don't have to be perfect, always functioning, to be worthy of love.

But then you remember that this is not about you and you're ashamed that you use his face, his voice, when you imagine these words being said to you, because after all it's him - he who never tried to hide just how fucking much you mean to him.

You truly are an idiot)

He smiles at you weakly.

You did everything right.

Or maybe it goes like this:

He calls you, not Talinda

Or: You already feel that something is up with him when you see each other that afternoon. So you make sure he won't be alone. Maybe you invite him to your home. Maybe you invite yourself to his.

Or: You wake up in the middle of the night with a sinking feeling in your stomach that something is wrong. So you get up, get dressed, get your ass over to his house. Break in. Call for him, look for him, until you find him in the bedroom, mere seconds after he passed out.

You loosen the belt.

You save him.

Or: Everything is fine. Nothing happened. It was all just a bad dream. The photo shoot is today. He and Joe post a dorky selfie into your band's whatsapp group while taking a Starbucks break on their way. You answer it with a dorky selfie of you and your coffee mug at your kitchen table. You only realize that Anna has photobombed you with a truly hilarious facial expression when Dave points it out. You look at her, pull the most ugly grimace you're capable of, and the two of you laugh when you proclaim that you plan on pulling that exact same face on all the promo photos taken later that day.

Chester laughs at that idea, too, when you tell him, and joins you. You two look positively disgusting on that first photo (after which you decide to stop torturing the photographer and act like professionals, though). You beg him to send you this photo. Maybe you can incorporate it in the next LPU package. Mugs? Keychains? The CD cover? Chester suggests dildos or at least condom packages, and you almost choke from laughter, while being fully aware of how lucky you are to be allowed to be this idiot's friend, so you two can be idiots together.

Only none of this ever happened.

He didn't call Talinda.

He didn't call you.

You didn't realize something was up when you saw him for the last time.

And neither was there any sinking feeling of wrongness in your stomach. In fact, you had a really nice evening while he decided to end his life. You had two, three glasses of excellent wine, some yummy home-made pizza and pretty great sex before you fell asleep like a stone and didn't wake up until 8am. And even then you were content with life, still no sinking feeling, even though he already didn't exist anymore at that time.

And now?

Now all that's left is a hollow void where once the comforting knowledge of him being part of your life was.

The world feels wrong. Probably because it's still turning.

You look out of the window and see people going on with their lives, and even your own one refuses to take a break. You need to get the kids ready for school and take them there. You need to eat. You need to sleep. The sun rises, it goes down, and after a couple of hours it rises again.

He's not the first person close to you that you lose.

But he's the first one who was such a big part of your life, and the first one who vanished so suddenly and unexpectedly, and the first one that leaves you with the feeling you could've prevented it. If only you would've known. If only you would've said the right thing.

If only you had been there.

When you find out, when the shock strikes you like lightning, only cold and numbing, you think of the band. Fuck, the band. The tour. The fans, Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, Fuck!!

Then you realize what you just heard. What happened. No accident. He isn't just hurt. He's dead. Death is final. He won't come back. He'll never look at you again, he'll never listen to you again and your opinion on that matters fucking shit. So you cry, mostly out of helplessness.

This can't be true, this can't be happening, this isn't fair, you HAVE to be able to do something! Stop it! Make it unhappen! He can't just fuck off like that! That's just. Not. Fair!! There's no way that this is happening!

You try to reach Talinda. You need to know which morgue they brought him to, you need to go there, you need to see him, maybe this is all just a big weird mistake, he can't just... he would never just... or would he?

... Fuck he would.

And he did.

You lose track of your own emotions. Or maybe you just don't have any anymore, who knows.

You stagger through the day like in trance, empty chest, empty head, through a world that shouldn't be allowed to exist. One without him in it. Sometimes you cry. Usually when Anna tries to comfort you or you try to comfort her, and you also cried a little when the both of you sat down to explain to Otis that Uncle Chester is gone.

He's old enough to understand the word "dead", having lost his granduncle only a few months ago and a great-grandmother a year or so prior to that. You already answered all the heavy questions about life and death belonging together then.

Or so you thought.

In the end, you have a long talk about suicide with him.

He's 9 years old.

Just two years younger than Chester was when he dreamed of vanishing from existence for the first time in his life.

For a brief moment you're proud of him for having stuck around for another 30 years after that.

And thankful, that you got to know him.

And that's the moment when you truly miss him for the first time.

The void in your chest gets heavier, hard, until breathing hurts and your eyes burn and you stammer something about being back shortly and flee into your studio.

Where he's never gonna sit on your couch again.

Never gonna stand in the vocal booth again.

Just like he's never gonna be on stage with you again, never laugh at your horrible jokes again, never...

You lean against the door, slide down to the ground and make yourself as tiny as possible.

And cry.

Loud. Ugly. Until your face is beet-red and sweaty, and your cheeks are wet, and there's snot in your beard, and you can barely even breathe anymore.

And every time you think you're about to calm down, you remember another thing that's never gonna happen again. Like the way he looked at you, the way his voice sounded when he smiled, his casual compliments to you, which you always sucked up like a sponge even though you pretended to laugh them off. And the way he took care you had enough medicine, when you got sick near the end of a tour, and how he visited you in your room then and texted you, whenever he couldn't, just to take your mind off your boredom and sickness, to make you smile and make sure you wouldn't forget that he was there for you.

And that makes the crying start all over again.

Until you're too physically exhausted to go on and go to bed with a dull headache, feeling emptier than ever before.

He's still dead the next day.

And the day after that.

By now disorientation and emptiness take turns with the raw pain of missing him. Although you never cry like that again. Usually it's just a burning heaviness in your chest and your view getting blurry. Only sometimes do you feel tears tickling on your cheeks again.

He continues to stay dead.

Guilt joins the party.

You should've known something was up.

(But then again, you did, didn't you? All of you did. You all knew he was having another depressive episode. Nothing new on that front, that was how depression worked for him, with him, on him: It came in waves. It made him struggle to get stuff done, to answer texts, and he was exhausted by those mean little voices in his head that made fun of him for being such a wimp and loser, for not being able to turn them off, just how unthankful for his wonderful life did he have to be to not just shut them up, his family and friends didn't deserve such an unthankful asshole in their lives, and over time they would start to resent him, some resented him already, he was such a drag, so whiny, always hurting and struggling, why was he even still fighting it, feeling like shit, no, being a piece of shit was obviously a part of him as a person, given how he couldn't remember how it felt to not have this be a part of him, he should just stop fighting it and accept it instead, he was not made to function - leave out be happy - he was just procrastinating on the unavoidable. They, these voices, they would get him sooner or later. And if he was honest, he didn't want it any other way.

Whenever he managed to talk about those voices and his heavy heart, he usually did so with a smile or even laughed.

You made him promise to come talk to you, if they ever got too loud. You practically forced that promise out of him, and he smiled again and was extra caring towards you, all of you, for the next few days or weeks, although not always patient. But perceptive when one of you had a hard day. And forgiving. So fucking forgiving...

And a few weeks later, things went back to normal. His smiles grew broader and more common again, he didn't wear his sunglasses in the studio anymore, could look you in the eyes again, and things were ok. Until the next depressive wave tried to crush him.

You all thought this time would be no different.

You were wrong.)

You should've told him how much he meant to you. Still means to you.

(But then again, you already tried to do it as often as possible, didn't you? And you got better at it over the last couple of years even, after you realized how much he needed it. How much many people you care about seem to need it, and how it wasn't just you, then. You don't assume you'll ever be as good at it as he was. And you still can't understand how he could throw around words like "love" so easily and always mean them from the deepest bottom of his heart. You should've told him that you love him. More often. More seriously, not just in passing jokes.)

You should've...

You don't know what you should've done. Could've done.

But it's still your fault, somehow.

He continues to stay dead.

You try to be angry at him.

He was mourning, too, he knew how that felt! How the fuck could he decide to do that to you then? How could he, of all people, be so cruel? Fucking asshole!

... You can't be angry at him.

He's still dead the next day.

And the one after it, too.

You find yourself forgetting about it every once in a while, just briefly, and functioning.

That scares you.

You look into your heart and you realize you've begun to heal. Slowly. But surely.

You lock yourself into your studio, taking two bottles of wine with you, and go through all the photos you own of him, especially those that have you in them, too, and you forcefully remind yourself that it's all over, that you're never gonna see him again.

And you cry, but it's no helpless ugly-crying. The raw crack in your heart has started to turn into a clean cut and you panic at the prospect of it maybe not even leaving much a scar. (It will leave a scar, though.)

You can't get over this, him, you're not ready to heal yet, he doesn't deserve you being able to go on with your life just like that.

Your grief is all you have left of him!

But you're not him.

You lack practice in hurting yourself, and you grew up being taught that you're worth being ok.

And even if you feel horribly lost and like a disgusting traitor... somewhere deep inside you know that it's gonna be fine in the end. At least for you.

He's still dead the next day.

But Anna is alive and your kids are alive and they need you and you need them, and even if Linkin Park should stop existing (the five of you are ashamed of even considering going on, but that's a whole other story), you know yourself, and you know that you're going to make music again, because that's what you always did, and you know that you'll have to heal to be there for that and the people who care about you.

So this is what you'll do.


He's never going to come back.

He can never be replaced.

You'll never get rid of the scars his loss left you with.

But you'll go on.

And that's ok.


If you feel like you won't be able to recover from what happened, please talk to someone.

Scream into the void that is the internet, talk or chat with a crisis hotline or a therapist, talk to close friends, talk to not-so-close friends you can easily avoid if you're embarrassed afterwards, talk to family. Just talk to someone. And try to keep your head above the water for as long as it takes you to muster up the energy to work on healing.

Depression is an asshole, it convinced someone as loved and cherished as Chester that the world would be a better place without him. Don't listen to it. It lied to him, so there's no reason it might not also be lying to you.

Take care ♥

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