This week, I was let into a conversation on Facebook. I was one of a big group who was informed that a former elementary school friend had a massive heart attack last week and is now in a coma. Her boyfriend of the past ten years has been asked to start thinking about “decisions”.
This girl, as I mentioned, was in my elementary school class. We were pretty good friends at various points during that time. And then we weren’t. The usual for the 2nd-7th grade set. The last time I spoke to her was in 7th grade (a cool thirty-one years ago) and I’m sure that I exited her mind long, long ago, but for some reason, I can’t get this out of my head.
Maybe because she is frozen in my mind as a 12-year old? Maybe because when I look back, it was an innocent time of Bobbsey Twins Books (she and I were both bookworms), Catholic school uniforms and bowls of Lipton Ring Noodle soup for lunch. Life was wonderfully simple. Did you have money to get a slushie from the ice cream truck at lunch time? What country do you have to do for your social studies report (I’ll never forget that I got stuck with Lichtenstein. Had never even heard of it. Because of that report on that miniscule principality, a trip there is now on my Bucket List)? What are you wearing to the dance? Do you really have a crush on so-so (yes)?
Fast-forward to now. She is at the end of her days.
Nothing can make you feel more mortal than this type kind of realization.
I think that’s the shocking part of it. All the middle was left out for me. She was a 12-year-old girl and now she is meeting a tragic end at a very tender age. All in one swoop.
Where am I going with this? I have absolutely no idea, but I felt the need to write a few words about it.
Time flies. Maybe that’s it. Time flippin’ flies. I do hope that she enjoyed her days, whatever they were filled with. That she traveled, that she saw things, loved things and made her mark somewhere along the way. That her life, even in it’s brevity, was slow and full.
“It is photography itself that creates the illusion of innocence. Its ironies of frozen narrative lend to its subjects an apparent unawareness that they will change or die. It is the future they are innocent of. Fifty years on we look at them with the godly knowledge of how they turned out after all – who they married, the date of their death – with no thought for who will one day be holding photographs of us.”
― Ian McEwan, Black Dogs
Sorry for the solemn post today. Wanted to get it off my chest. Tomorrow will be peppier, promise.