Categories > Celebrities > Metallica > Ripe

Part 7

by Cerilla 0 reviews

Category: Metallica - Rating: R - Genres:  - Warnings: [!] [X] - Published: 2012-12-21 - Updated: 2012-12-22 - 1772 words - Complete


1986 was an incredibly busy year, for both me and Kirk: our bands toured a lot (granted, them much more than us), did various interviews and photo shoots, our albums were selling well, plus, with my band we had started writing new songs for our second album due the following year. Our time spent together was great as always, although Kirk had problems to cope with the idea that we couldn’t get gigs and tour together; a few times we showed up at each other’s concerts, but our bands were too different to appeal the same audience. Metallica was getting really big thanks to 'Master of Puppets', fame and money were coming to them, it wasn’t just about covering the costs anymore; Corinne was overjoyed because she and Cliff could finally buy a house of their own. Things were going well, all in all. Until that tragic day.

I was busy recording the new album, ‘Necromanteion’, with my band; Ben and Joel were in the middle of an argument as usual, Craig and I decided it was a good moment to share a joint, when someone told me I had a call by Corinne. When I answered, I heard her crying and sobbing; alarmed, I asked her what was wrong, but could only hear disconnected words from her broken voice. I eventually made out the words ‘Cliff’, ‘bus accident’ and ‘dead’, and then I realized it: Cliff was killed in a road accident. Cliff was dead.

It was like a punch in the guts, taking my breath away, leaving me paralyzed, unable to react. I don’t know for how long I stayed silent, completely still, with the receiver in my hand without even listening. When I became conscious of Corinne calling my name, I tried to respond, but no sound came out from my lips. She was still crying and I felt a rush of panic running wild through me; luckily Craig decided to check on me, since I wasn’t coming back, and touched me on the shoulder.
“April, what’s up? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
I looked at him and passed him the phone, still speechless, and walked briskly to the toilet; once there, I leaned on the wall, taking deep breaths. Million thoughts crossed my mind at high speed without me being able to grasp them. I slid down the floor and started to tremble.
Craig told the other guys the news and they decided to call off the day, shocked by the tragedy; they found me curled up on the toilet floor and hugged me tight. That evening we got more wasted than any time before.

“Once we were discussing about religion, you know, and shit like that and he…” I began to laugh like an idiot, “he was so stoned, he shouted he had enough of those goddamn motherfucking Jehovah’s Witnesses always knocking at his door at Sunday in the morning.” Ben tried to steal my bottle of Gin, so I kicked him away. “Get off, fucker!”
“Yeah, let the woman tell her story!” barked Joel. The guys had asked me to share some of my memories about Cliff and I was trying to recollect the best one in my alcoholic daze.
“He often mocked them or insulted them to their faces, but they were relentless. At a point he had an idea and went to fetch his sister’s carnivorous plant, you know, one of those with mouths. Then..” I started laughing again, hysterically, “then he renamed the plant ‘The Destroyer’ and tried to train it to attack the annoying visitors.” We all rolled in laughter, picturing Cliff shouting orders to a plant.
“Fuck, did it work?” asked Craig, drying his eyes.
“Sure, there’s still a pile of bones next to the door of his house.”

The day after I woke up with a terrible headache, aching all over after having slept on the floor and with my clothes all wrinkled and stained; it took me a while to get barely functional, but eventually I managed to get up and go to the bathroom. I washed my face and rinsed my mouth, then tried to think rationally; the numbness I was feeling was much better than the previous desperation, at least it allowed me to react.
My bandmates were already up, discussing between them. When they saw me, they informed me that it was ok for them if I wanted to take a pair of weeks from recording to cope and get behind Kirk and the others. I accepted, hugging them, thankful for their sympathy, and called Corinne to say I was coming to her; I got informed that she was with Cliff’s parents, so I went to them. There wasn’t much I could do, though, I knew nothing, I couldn’t say anything that wouldn’t sound pathetic and trite; we just shared our grief through proximity.

Corinne had passed me her plane ticket so I could reach Metallica on their return. They looked destroyed, lifeless, almost catatonic and sleep deprived; when Kirk spotted me, he threw his arms around me and embraced me as tight as he could. I held him as he cried on my shoulder, stroking his back; that evening he told me the details of what had happened that dreadful night in Sweden and shared his guilt for being alive. They had drawn cards to choose the bunks and Cliff had picked Kirk’s one; a whim of fate had decided the life of one and the death of the other. It could have been Kirk. A different card flip would have changed everything. Life and death had been decided by a game, played by the hands of such a triviality. That, and a bus driver who deserved the ‘hanged, drawn and quartered’ penalty. I cried. Shock and numbness had spared me the tears before, but now I felt all the injustice of destiny hitting me with violence. I cried because I had lost a wonderful friend, because people I loved were suffering for his death, because a part of me was relieved it hadn’t been Kirk, and it was such a horrible, ugly thought that I felt so ashamed it could even cross my mind.

The funeral was intimate, solemn and burdened with silence, each of us closed up into ourselves; only music accompanied us when we scattered Cliff’s ashes.

Kirk hold me as close as he could while he thrust into me with desperation, my legs were crossed around his hips to pull him deeper; it was lovemaking driven by the urgency to feel alive and find comfort in each other’s arms. He caressed my face and covered it with kisses, murmuring sweet nothings; I hugged him and moaned his name repeatedly, as in fear he would slide away from me.

Kirk rested his head between my breasts, breathing peacefully, and I petted his soft hair like he was a cat. He raised from the bed to retrieve something from a drawer, came back with a silver ring and gave it to me. The ring was shaped like two hands holding a crowned heart.
“It’s very pretty.”
“It’s called ‘Claddagh ring’, I bought it in Ireland. Cliff… Cliff wanted to buy Corinne a present and decided for something related to Celtic traditions.” He paused to take a breath, “I tagged along to see if I could find something for you and I found this in a small shop. I remembered that my father had told me about this kind of ring when I was a kid, he had explained that it is a token of friendship, love and loyalty.”
I looked at the ring, moved by Kirk’s lovely gesture.
“If worn on the right hand with the heart pointing toward the body, it indicates that the person wearing the ring is in a relationship or someone has captured their heart.” He looked at me with hopeful eyes. “I would love you to wear it. I love you April, I should have told you before, babe, I love you so much.”
I smiled with tears of joy in my eyes, “Yes Kirk, of course I’ll wear it. I love you too.” I hugged him and cried, feeling my heart thudding.

A few days later, Kirk, James and Lars decided to start looking for a new bass player because they thought that keep going would be the best way to honor Cliff’s memory. Albeit I agreed with them, I believed them to be too upset to restart immediately; their coping mechanism was, predictably, drinking, drinking, drinking.
“You should take your time to grieve properly and recover some balance. You have suffered a big loss, it wouldn’t be healthy to move on so soon.” “Music will be our therapy, self-pity won’t do us any good.” Replied Lars.
“But…” I tried to retort.
“We already have made our choice, April, and not to be offensive, but you have no say in this band’s decisions.” Kirk looked at me like he just had an idea. “Maybe she could!” he exclaimed.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, since we need a new bassist, April could step in.”
Lars and James seemed intrigued by the idea. “Yeah, she’s good, even Cliff liked her. She’ll have to adapt her style of playing, but it won’t be too hard, right?” Lars asked me.
I stared at them with wide eyes. “Guys, I’m flattered, but I’m already in a band and have no intention to quit it.”
Kirk looked at me deflated and even a little bitter. “But we know and trust you, I’m sure we would work perfectly together. And this way we could be close.” I cupped his cheek and made him look at me. “Kirk, as much as the idea entices me, I know I wouldn’t fit in with Metallica, and by the way, I’m proud of what I’m doing with Geryon, can you understand?” He nodded, still looking sad.
“Well, we’ll start auditioning as soon as possible. Replacing Cliff is impossible, but we can find someone kickass enough to play in Metallica.”

They found a substitute in a nice boy with curly, reddish-brown hair and a cute smile named Jason and restarted to tour; as far as I was concerned, I rejoined my bandmates and concluded the recording of our second album, still feeling worried for Metallica’s well-being.

Author’s note: Last chapter of the year. See ya the 13/14th of January.
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