I wonder sometimes what the people on the Hindenburg airship thought when the whole thing went up in flames. I think it must have been something like what Andy was thinking towards the end of things. All happening in slow motion, or the 1937 equivalent. No escaping now. We’re going to die and it’s going to hurt more than we can bear and we’ll always be remembered as the people who died here. We were the triers, the doers, the adventurers and look what it got us.
I think the people on the ground, watching, must have been thinking something like what we were thinking while we watched him destroy himself. Rigid with horror. Powerless, but transfixed. Andy was an adventurer, too, or he was before…before. It was what I loved most about him. He was exciting. He climbed things. He jumped out of things. He crashed society parties. He sang, all the time, out loud. He danced like a wild man. Women fell at his feet. He lived.
No one could say for sure what changed or why, but somewhere along the way, the light went out in him. It didn’t happen all at once. It was more like a candle, sputtering, burning down to the wick. Giving up. He stopped living long before he died. He tried to brush it aside at first, tried to pretend it was nothing. He’d be fine, he said. Just a little funk, he said, that’s all. Happens to the best of us, he said, and then he laughed, and I believed him. We all did, for a while. But you can’t relight a candle when there’s nothing left to burn.
There was something apt about the way he went out. It was like he was trying to reignite himself. The difference between his ending and the Hindenburg, I suppose, is that it wasn’t an accident, no matter what the police report said. He stole his brother’s sports car, and crashed it, going a hundred miles an hour, into the side of a townhouse. He took out himself, the car and half the ground floor in one big ball of flames. It was almost impressive, if you didn’t stop to think about it.
Here’s to you, Andy, I guess. I loved you more than you ever knew. The trier. The doer. The adventurer. The doomed dirigible passenger.