na foine ting

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Three deaths. Online communities are difficult; you think you maintain a margin of indifference, and you do until you realize the margin evaporated some time ago, and what you thought was remote has become dangerously proximate.

Someone asked for remembrances, and these were mine. I've been part of the community for seven years now, I think. Many of these people have become known to me, in person and just online.

Family, friends.



It was clever how she did it.
Separate without being aloof, private without being remote.

I learned about her in small pieces, those critical important details of her life which eventually would catch hold of me, seize me and make her matter to me in the way that only a handful of online friends ever do.

It wasn't just what she had gone through, not the incident that changed her life, nor the illness, nor that she was beautiful

--and for those of you lucky to have seen her, she was beautiful, you need to know how beautiful--

or that she sent us a bottle of vanilla liquor which we opened the night I found out she'd died and have meted out in frugal portions, savoring, ever since.

It wasn't just that I found out she was a cop and came to realize over time that she somehow had transcended all of what I struggled with in fire, somehow had retained her humor, her grace, her femininity while being totally up to the job.

It wasn't any of these things separately.

It was the total package, the unfurling revelation of who she was, offscreen as well as on, that got me.

So that despite the fact I'd never met her face to face, I took her death desperately hard.

Mourned harder than I have for lovers who have died.

That's how it is sometimes.

How you wind up with your life affected that deeply, by someone who cannot help but be somehow

that significant.


They say your voice "catches."
That hitch, where you are attempting to say something and for emotion, for tears, for sheer volume of what lies there to say, you are silent.

There is no correlation for that in writing.

But my hands hover over the keyboard and I start to think a line of words

or just one word


and find myself interrupted, arrested, unable to go on.

He was, as Susie said, expansive. A huge personality, a warmth and life which filled the room like his voice, talking with the intensity of a blowtorch on a variety of subjects all equally intense, relevant, important.

Even I -- *I* -- found myself half-cringing under the almost unbearable burn of his attention. Until I too caught fire, and we happily conflagrated, either in argument or agreement, it didn't matter which.

I stutter here, where you read.

I pause.

I say nothing of what I actually have to say.


When Jon killed himself, I couldn't get past selfish self-recrimination to simply mourn.
Those are the hard ones, I guess.

Where we knew we should have done more, where we knew we didn't do enough, and all the platitudes and cliches in the world don't matter for shit in the end.

I remember him out in the garden with a cigarette, looking down at G, who was crawling around on a blanket at his feet. Talking to him about something I couldn't catch, that slightly sardonic tone, as though G was not one and a half but also an old man on the lawn smoking a cigarette in the shade.

I didn't do enough. Not for Jon, not for Larry.

All I can do is be honest about the difficult ambiguity, I guess.

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