Friday, 25th July '03
ďÖ you never believe that something is going to happen to you. Not like it does in the movies. And when it actually does, you expect it to feel different. More visceral. More real. I was waiting for it to hit me.Ē
I donít quite know how to start. I know she deserves me to write about her because she was never anything but wonderful to me. Even if she wasnít close. Kind, cheerful, always lovable. Was.
To the best of my knowledge I got the message this morning at around 10 plus. And I couldnít feel. As in the brain goes Shit. But the heart beats as normal. It didnít skip, it didnít palpitate, and it didnít even hurt.
It just felt wrong. Like this wasnít news I was supposed to be receiving. It was news for someone in a film to get. I expected the classic reaction from myself. Clasp hand on mouth, dilate pupils, knees get weak and wobbly and sink onto the nearest physical support. Instead I thought my heralder had made a typo. ďAttemptedĒ was the word she wanted. Not ďCommittedĒ.
I feel wrong. I feel bad. I feel stunned. But I donít feel hit.
Iím alternating between states. One part of me thinks of the first time I met her, and I donít always remember first meetings. She was a skating pal first, a PSL soon after, a councilor even further on. Short, small, blue skate covers, a willingness to take all the little kids at the rink through their tag games and silliness. A junior in a dolphin printed shirt with blue sleeves, a junior in a blazer with a big badge. A friend who messaged right at the start of the SARS fiasco to ask my mum what she and others in the school could do to help. My stomach clenches, my chin feels prickly.
But I havenít actually really seen her in more than six months. It doesnít feel like sheís not there.
I know she isnít. And Iím beginning to miss her.
Went back to school. The silence was so loud. No one knows why and I feel cheated. There has to be a why. There canít be no why. Hers was a young and beautiful life, she said she wanted to be a doctor, she was looking for a good med school. There has to be a damn WHY.
Too fast and I still donít know what to think. Sometimes I my insides seize up. Sometimes I just feel normal. I realize that for almost all the time I spend in the room Iím hanging on to this dusty yellow cushion. Needed something to hold.
This perverse need to observe takes over. Because I donít know what to do with me I just sit there and watch. Someone lies on the sofa, for all intents and purposes, fast asleep. Her eyelids quiver, she twitches when someone walks by. Eventually she sits up, and is compelled to repeat two words ďIím tiredĒ several times. Lie back down, get up, ďIím tiredĒ. Itís a dance designed to provide an avenue to close her eyes to the truth outside.
Some walk in, pick up their schoolbags. They leave for home, nary a passing remark. Goodbye is not a word that can be said out loud.
Someone is puffy-eyed. I touch her wrist and we pull into each otherís arms. She doesnít want to talk and although I want to know, I donít want to talk either. Itís too much work. As she moves away her arms fold across her abdomen, emotional anguish expressed as a gastric no antacid can neutralize.
Someone starts a conversation in hushed tones. Compares a handphone. The topic drops in less than 3 exchanges. Someone picks up a football. The game withers to a walk on the grass.
Someone sits, she fiddles with a tear in her bag. A minor inconvenience of before, now a huge rent in the search of something else, anything else, to which to transfer her attention.
Weíre not in tears. We cope. We deal. But the air is dense, and our guts are empty. We canít be happy, yet we canít be sad. We have lost something we know we love, but we havenít needed to use it yet.
I hate that there are people I know who talk about being depressed like theyíre in love with the sheer notion of being depressed. They talk about suicide, self-mutilation, how they have no courage to die.
They donít want to die. Not really. They want sympathy they donít need, and they want an excuse to live life with more concessions than everyone else.
I hate that Iíve spent time on people like this, these noisy, grabbing narcissists. Why did I bother when there was someone closer whom I simply didnít see?
Itís like loosing the favourite coin in a collection. Or having the PC hang just when an essay slaved over, an unsaved one, is completed. You want to throw things, bang a wall, curse and swear. And it sickens you to know you canít. Life, in its brutal relentless way, goes on.
You go for your next class, you smile and joke and try to laugh when you meet people who didnít know her. You feel guilty that you have a life that you can still experience in all its entirety. You report for work, you fulfill your responsibilities. Not all the flags in the country will fly at half-mast for this one person who felt so miserable she not only lost a will to live, she gained a determination to die.
Crap. They should.
I learn the sign for ďdieĒ in sign language class today. Itís a small but deliberate move, a mere flipping over of two extended palms. It looks exactly what it is and what it was in this case. But for all it can say of the physical aspect of death, itís an insincere platitude of everything else associated with death. The disgusting realization that one moment she was there and the next time I see her sheíll be in a jar at the columbarium. I donít know what Iíll do about that. I canít even begin to imagine what her family must feel. I know I couldnít take it.
For the first time Iím thankful I havenít a sibling. Thatís one less person with a capacity to hurt me in this way.
My classmate makes a joke about how it looks like a ďdead fish flipping its bodyĒ. I see why itís funny, I do. I even giggle because I still need to be normal for the rest of the world. But the dinner I had an hour ago has disappeared from my stomach. Maybe it wants out the way it went in.
ďI can go the distance, I can go that far, I can give up everything to bring them where you are. Even though I could choose the path of least resistance, Father I will take the cross, I will go the distance.Ē
Iím scared this will happen again. This time not to just a casual friend, but to someone I hold dear, someone I couldnít live without. And Iím scared itíll happened to someone I love who hasnít come to know Him yet.
At this moment, I havenít. I havenít dared because my closest friends wonít appreciate my trying. Iím afraid that if I talk to them too much Iíll even lose what little conviction I have myself. A vapour trying to liquefy cannot cool another vapour too. I donít even know what that last sentence means. It just sounds like what I feel.
I donít even know what religious inclination this friend had. I prayed the moment I heard the news that Heíd have mercy on her soul. Stupid stupid clichť. But I canít take it that if she hadnít found Him before thisÖ all this hellfire and bloody damnation. The Crucible. She was too good. Was. I canít believe I have learnt to instinctively refer to her in the past tense.
We even learnt how to sign ďGo to HellĒ today. How easily we bandy that phrase around. Now that I think on it, itís not in the least funny.
I donít know, I still donít know. Iím going to bed. Writing isnít sorting out anything the way it thought it would and it sounds like some pretentious crap. Well, crap pretty much summaries today anyway.
Is this the way the cookie crumbles?
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]