Thursday, September 13, 2012

Her Eyes. Her Nose. Her Forehead. Her Mouth.

“We are all going, […] and it applies to turtles and turtlenecks. Alaska the girl and Alaska the place, because nothing can last, not even the earth itself. The Buddha said that suffering was caused by desire, we'd learned, and that the cessation of desire meant the cessation of suffering. When you stopped wishing things wouldn't fall apart, you'd stop suffering when they did.”

― John Green, Looking for Alaska

Yesterday night I met with some old friends, and since I’m leaving Mexico in just a few days, we decided it was a great excuse to go through old yearbooks. That’s what we did. We remembered unfortunate haircuts, braces, not-hypster-cool glasses, baby fat and awkward faces. In that moment it was all about us, every time we opened up a book, we went straight to our generation pictures.

By pure coincidence, one yearbook opened up on the photographs of a generation a year below ours. In that moment, a friend pointed out a picture of a girl; I remembered her instantly. I didn’t talk to her, she was a year younger than me and at that age it means a whole other level of life experiences, but I remembered her. For the life of me I can’t tell why I remember her, though. She had an Asian last name, maybe that was it. She had a boyish haircut, maybe that was it. She looked a little bit Asian, but not quite; her face was pretty and feminine enough to pull off the haircut. Maybe that was it. 

“She died” my friend whispered.

Instinctively, I asked how. That’s what we do, isn’t it? Because we want to hear about a sickness that we’re already cured for; we want to hear about an overdose of drugs we don’t do; we want to hear about dangerous places we would never visit.

She died in a car crash about a year ago. No. Not a year. Months ago. She wasn’t driving; the guy who was wasn’t drunk. He lost control of the wheel for a few seconds and that’s all that was needed. She wasn’t even 21. I think.

I looked up the shocked faces of my friends. I could tell that all they wanted was to turn to the next page and pretend it didn’t happened. We did.

Or maybe I did not. I had trouble sleeping last night. I couldn’t stop thinking about the girl I didn’t talk to and that I never will. When I woke up, it took me just a few seconds on the internet to find the news of her death. According to the site she died instantly. It remind me about the main character of the book ‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green. He rants about what an ‘instant death’ means; he wonders how long it really is and how awful the pain must feel like. I don’t know about the pain, but just a second of thinking “I’m about to stop existing” sounds terrifying enough to me.

As human being, as the selfish creature I am, I can’t help but think how it makes me feel. How it makes me feel the fact that ten years ago I saw her smiling and I had no idea she was going to die young and tragically (although, I’m being redundant, dying young means dying tragically); how it makes me feel that she must have been going home after a fun night; how it makes me feel that she must had had plans for the next day; how it makes me feel that nobody knew she would stop existing that night… And as selfish as it sounds, that’s all that is important now; how the living feel about the dead, because, even if the particles that conformed her still exist and, theoretically,  will never stop existing, she as a whole doesn’t. She’s not aware of her death anymore, because she’s not aware of anything anymore. So, I can’t stop thinking about my own feelings about it, because that’s what we do.

…Isn’t it?


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    1. You really know how to kill a mood, don't you Mr. Spam?

  2. Yes, yes it is what we do. And no, it's not selfish. Having gone through something similar, but on a far more personal level, I know exactly what you mean.

    I really wish I could share this very personal anecdote related to your post, but I just don't feel comfortable sharing it openly with the world on here. It's a pity. ::shrug::


    1. If you want to (and only if you do) you can write me up at … I understand if you don’t feel like it, though. Thank you for reading :*

  3. This blog entry is special, and I love the opening quote, and I love your writing style as you expose yourself in such a fragile moment. Thank you for sharing.

    As it stands, I can only add that I haven't had a great deal of loved ones pass away in my lifetime, even at 27 years of age. One of my aunts also died in a car crash many years ago in Mexico. I remember loving her and her sisters when I was growing up, but I was too young and I don't have too many memories about her.

    More recently, however, one of my past classmates passed away. It was an individual I had such a huge crush on back in school, and she ran in the same circle of friends as I did, but I didn't know her too well.
    Anyway, I didn't have the guts to walk up to her or make friends with her. Not until one of (if not the) last day of junior high, when I walked up to her and asked her if she would sign my yearbook.

    She did, and she did it with the friendliest of smiles, and I was more than smitten. Anyway, I always thought of her as being angelic, almost. Her smile was so warm, and inviting, so finding out that she did drugs was so unbelievable to me at the time. But she wasn't an addict. She was just trying to cope with the bullshit in her teenage life.

    After graduating from high school, I managed to keep in touch with her via livejournal (not sure if you're familiar with that old joke). Anyway, I was still further amazed to read what her personal life had been all along; it's a wonder she managed to smile at all.

    She turned out to be as insecure as I was, if not more, and I just could not for the life of me believe it. Her sexual orientation and identification became a huge issue during her college years, and she seemed to delve deeper into depression.

    I found out she had passed away a little over a month ago, and I just felt an incredible sadness I hadn't felt in the longest time. There was an immediate uncertainty as to what led to her untimely death, and I eventually thought of checking her online journal, which I hadn't done in years.

    She had a short entry up the night she presumably passed away in her sleep. Her depression had led her to consuming a mixture of drugs so she could make herself go numb.

    I have to say, that once I realized what had happened, I instantly felt some anger towards her because she was still young, and she had made it so far in life, fighting on so many fronts, and yet her own actions led to her foolish and unnecessary death.
    But it's pointless to remain angry. There was denial, and there was anger, depression and acceptance. But there was no bargaining, because she was fully responsible for what happened.

    She had posted some poetic prose non-poetry on facebook two or three days before this happened. She wrote,

    "Someone on the street blasts Celion Dion's "My Heart Will Go On", fireworks are blocking traffic and it's unclear whether the smoke rising into the sky is from the fireworks or the pot, and a man strolls down the street with a docile baby raccoon slung over his shoulder. It's been an interesting day in the neighborhood."

    I responded, "Sounds like the introduction to a memoir. Write it!".

    She 'liked' my comment, but that was it. That was my final message to her, and I couldn't bring myself to attend her funeral afterwards.

    Even if you didn't read all that, it was all quite therapeutic for me just the same.
    You can't leave a wounded soldier on the battlefield, but the ones that didn't make it will have to be left behind.

    1. Of course I read the whole thing… But I have no idea of what to tell you; however, I doubt there’s anything you “need” me to say.

      Thank you for sharing. I’ve had just a few people close to me dying but no one young. In a way -and even if it’s sounds immature- it’s kind of a shock for me that people our age die too.

  4. That was a very good post. You hit on a lot of the feeling well.

    When someone that we know dies, it effects us, when we are close to them, it effects us deeply, when they are young, it effects and disturbs us a different level. When it's all of the above, well, it can be devastating. That was the case with me when my only child was killed in 2008 at only 14.

    1. I really wish there was something I could say about this... I guess, the smartest thing is to admit that I really have no idea of what to say.