The impossible death of a friend.

Blogger's note: I waited a year to post this. Now--I hope--is the right time.

I am not the kind of man who dwells long. Not in one place, not in one mindset, and certainly not on one person.

Therefor I must write now, while the wound is fresh and the questions relevant.

A and I were friends. If she hadn't been committed to her boyfriend, we'd have been more than that.

We shared loves of good scotch, great music, and unusual food.

On Wednesday, just after noon, her roommate found her dead in her bathtub, separated from my bed by just 18 feet and two walls.

On Tuesday night, at 8:55PM, she had called me. I was in rehearsal for a play and could not answer.

She did not leave a message.

Later that night I thought fleetingly of missed calls and decided to wait to call her until the next day, as I planned to go running and she and I were running buddies.

Wednesday afternoon my roommate called me at work.

"A--'s dead."

The details were thin, but delivered with as much accuracy and depth as was possible, for both our benefits. She was his friend too.

I told him to call me if there was anything I could do, and to keep me informed. On Wednesday night I had friends over for dinner, and I apologized for my distracted state while I tried to gather my thoughts.

On Thursday I spoke with my roommate, in muted voices about plans and aide and her roommate (now back in NC with family, recuperating from the ordeal). I asked my roommate to keep his ear to the ground--he was a member of the Mercer community, as an employee--and to tell me about any upcoming ceremony or memorial service.

That night he called me as I was leaving the apartment. There was to be a silent vigil at 8PM at the law school.

I grabbed dinner and dashed back to my apartment, and dressed--impeccably and over the top, the way A-- would have wanted it--and went to rehearsal. When I arrived I told them that I was leaving for the ceremony.

I delivered my lines as best I could, but when your entire outfit is based around the concept of a silent vigil, your mood is affected. At 7:50 I drove to the law school.

I walked around the building, thinking about how A-- and I had run the same route just a week earlier.

The crowd inside was quiet, telling stories and comforting one another. I looked through the crowd anxiously, hat in hand--I wasn't even sure who I was looking for until I saw David.  Only then did I know. We embraced and he clung to me as few people in my life ever had.  We spoke briefly. My roommate and Beth arrived soon.

The crowd quieted as the lights were dimmed and we headed outside, into a cold and damp January night. Candles were lit and we stood in silence together; you could feel the heart of the community break with missing her.

Music was played (the Shins? Elliott Smith?), I still don't know which songs or artists. She would have approved though. This wasn't top of the charts pop, it was rare B sides and unique cuts that seemed as linked to A-- as her crinkled nose and her easy laugh.

Eventually we filed back inside. I said my goodbyes to David and headed for the door.

A-- was a friend of mine. If you knew her, she was probably a friend of yours too.

Goodbye. You'll be missed.

A very overdue author's note:   For some reason, despite spending more than half my life either administering web pages recreationally or (very briefly) professionally, I still let simple things slip by me.  It never occurred to me that because of how records keeping in a search engine like google work, my personal recollections of A's death would wind up anywhere near the top of a search for her name.  Instead, it's the first entry.  Damnit.

This entry was never intended to serve as a story about her.  This blog isn't about other people--it's about me--all blogs are--first and foremost--about their authors, no matter what the blogger in question may think.  I never intended it to be anything else.

I've redacted her name from the entry so that (hopefully, once the page is re-indexed) it will fall into obscurity.

I have no problem publishing the two comments insulting my writing--they aren't wrong.  The writing is clunky and awkward, self-absorbed and oddly juvenile.  It reads like a transcripted inner monologue of a person with a mild social disorder.  Which isn't a bad description for the entire All Is Well project, actually.  

I won't be taking down the entry--my writing here was amateur at best, but it still captures a memory that is visceral and real for me, and I feel I would damage the writing's authenticity if I tried to church it up into something more eloquent at this point.

Instead, I'm essentially re-imaging the post, with a different title and the same date--since the existing URL had my friend's name in it, and this should force Google to depricate the old index and create a new, sanitized one.

Friday, February 06, 2009