Illustration by Marc Abuan
You’re dead, I know. As dead as anyone who was once upright could be when they’re now buried six-feet deep. Dead as a cynic’s dreams. Dead like God, according to Nietzsche.
Still, maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the life you led, lived and left was enough, and maybe writing is its own reward. I sure don’t know if you’ve made it to the afterlife — it’s not that easy anymore — I can’t read any emails that you sent to the ridiculously-named [email protected]. “Unless they have wifi in heaven” is what I would say if I was so cliché. You know me too well though.
We were best friends in elementary but then friendships at that age are fickle, so we fell apart until graduation. Then you migrated to Canada. It must have been in 2nd Year high school when you first sent me an e-mail. You asked if I had seen Twilight, and we both agreed that it was worth hating. I guess I have that stupid vampire teen series to thank for starting our pen pal-hood.
I remember the day we held that mass for you at the school chapel. I came late to that mass. We released white balloons up into a sky that threatened rain. They looked like little squiggly sperm squirming off to some massive invisible egg cell. All else I could think of was where they would fall off to once they reach the atmosphere because obviously balloons can’t float into outer space. A family of sea turtles would probably ingest our tribute to your death and in turn die as well. How tragic-comic-ironic! I think it would have warranted its own paragraph in our correspondence, don’t you? Then we both would have shared a good laugh over it, albeit in different time zones.
Now I can’t even reread any of our messages anymore – Yahoo won’t allow it, because I can’t get past this one security question to access my account: What did my parents make me wear when I was little? You were taking longer than usual to reply that one time. It bothered me enough to hack into a friend’s Facebook account (I hadn’t sold out to social networking yet) just to check if you died or something.Ironically, it turns out that you did.
I won’t lie, Dyna, I couldn’t cry. I still can’t and I don’t know why. Had you been able to come to your own requiem mass, you wouldn’t have known me to be a friend of yours at all. Up until only recently did I know the exact date of your death, but the specifics of its causes and conditions elude me. Then again I didn’t know a lot of things, not even that you were dying before you had actually died.
How did it feel Dyna, when the life force was draining out of you by the blood droplet, or with every wheeze on that brick-soft white hospital bed? Did you cry? Did you know you were going to die, Dy?
I wish I heard from you. I wish the last things I sent to you weren’t about all the boys in college I wanted to go to bed with or the books that I read. I wish you would have afforded me at least closure, so I could end our chapter and not leave it hung by an afterthought of a report on how your slave-contract job at a fast food chain was literally killing you.
I wish I could remember my fudging password. It makes me wonder if I am prevented from logging in by your own supernatural doing, as you’re afraid I’d bare our secrets before an all too eager world. As if anyone else but ourselves would want to know the weather in Saskatoon two Septembers ago or if high school was being a drag to me again, but I wish I could still relive the past if I so chose, if I was so disposed.
I miss you so much. I’ve almost quit all non-essential writing since you’ve gone. At the end of the day and at the end of a piece, a journal just quietly suffers the damage you’ve inflicted upon it. It doesn’t reply. It doesn’t return stories. It is cold, dry and dead because it is paper. Then only through tree genocide could an army of profound Moleskine pen-warriors be possible. Not for me though, not for us. We’d rather use dead dinosaurs to power our laptops so we could be together.
I’m sorry for the unshed tears that can’t even pool to the point of spillage from the ducts of my eyes that, for years, have hung onto every word we shared over the net. Can I just say it does not signify my heartlessness as much as it does my infinite humanity? What I’m trying to get at – while increasingly abusing my right to run-on sentences – is that there is never a “right” way to react. Is there?
I didn’t bawl my soul out like any “normal” teenage girl would, but I still cared. When we’ve both lived vicariously through words made possible by the power of this World Wide Web in which we are spiders, caring translates to taking in things internally, as we always have, through the peaks and pits of our adolescence. May I just let you understand though, that just because I didn’t feel it any louder, doesn’t mean I felt it any less? If life was as picture-perfect as we never wanted it to be, things would have turned out differently.
I mean, you were going to die, weren’t you? We would have suddenly plunged into exploring the philosophy behind a world we were only on the cusp of exploring. We’d suddenly sound like the characters we read about in our favorite fiction, tackling the deep stuff like religion as if we were talking about the weather, which we still did too, in typical neurotic fashion. After all, we were coming to a close, and for something as quietly epic as that thing we shared. It seemed to deserve to go off with a bang.
I was not the first person to express my condolences on your wall and until now, I still haven’t. Right now your Facebook profile is still very much alive, and your public posts tempt in inviting a like or even a comment. They still bear the promise I would receive a notification. Sometimes I still hope this was an elaborate prank and that we could all just one day laugh the accumulated pain, confusion and silence away. Some nights though I just stare at the ceiling with my eyes closed, and there in my insomniac wakefulness I realize the finality of it all.
So it ends, but life goes on. I loved you while it lasted. I love you still as my own life lasts. This letter was many months in the making because I just could not find enough of the right words that would give our friendship justice, but I figure there is no shame in letting the rest of the world know about what we had, and this in fact is the best way I can honor your memory. Should my own time come for me to be nothing – hey, at least I wrote this down. Then for that, we are immortal.
Dyna Mariette Fabi (1995-2012)