(Warning: This post might be sad.)
Last night, I had one of the worst dreams I’ve had in a long, long time. I won’t bore anyone with the details of the dream. I know they never really go over well in the retelling. I’m sure the dream was born due to the time I spent trying to finally fall asleep. Beneath the earth-shattering hum of our new air-conditioner, I couldn’t help but think of Katrina and how she died and the fact that I’ll never see her again.
As you might imagine, this sent my head into a downward spiral. So I tried to stop thinking. I thought about working out and buying a car instead.
What kind of car do we want? What if someone… Do we want a used car or a new car? Do we want something spiffy… had been there…. or something practical? She really had a great… I think I’ll run three… laugh… miles and lift tomorrow. I should… I think I’ll skip the bike…. have called her more often… I’m going to be tired. What if…. I really am never…. the insurance is too expensive? going to see her again.
And so I had some of the worst dreams to date. Even with the cool air, my skin found a way to sweat beneath the sheet. And I woke up wearing its wrinkles, which reminded me of how long, and unsettling my night had been.
Her death pops into my head from time to time, some weeks more so than others. Sometimes, I think about her several times a day, sometimes, not at all.
When I was in high school, a friend of mine named Shawna died. She fell down a flight of stairs and hit her head at the bottom. She died in the hospital later that day. Before the memorial services, I, being the punk-rock angry teenager that I was, told my mother I didn’t plan on going to the wake. I think I said something like this:
Wakes are stupid and morbid and gay and I’m not going. Why do that to someone? Why? It’s stupid.
My mother sat (a very confused) me down and calmly told me about seeing ghosts. She said a friend of hers died years and years ago and she never attended the wake. Because of her not attending the ceremony she believes that’s why she still sees her face and had to remind herself time and time again that her friend had indeed died. Lastly, she told me I had to go. That one day, I would be thankful that I attended. She told me going would be important for closure. And so I went. And I cried. Oh boy did I cry.
I still think of Shawna but I don’t see her in crowds. I’m not expecting her to call or write or one-day google me. I guess I got used to her being gone. I accepted it.
With Katrina, we weren’t allowed to go to the wake. There were only four people allowed to see her, as her mother didn’t have the money for a proper memorial service. And while I can respect her mother’s wishes, I felt the tad bit hurt and, though I hate to admit it because it’s selfish, robbed. Both Soung and Melissa assured her mother that her friends wouldn’t care about how it looked and that her friends would really just want to be there. In the end, we stayed home. Everyone, but Soung, Melissa, and David graciously sat aside and attended the funeral instead.
I rarely visit my Friendster account because I’m half expecting to see a funny message from Katrina or a new picture of her. Maybe she added another book or c.d. to her profile, maybe not. Mostly I stay away from Friendster because that was the one place (online) that reminded me of her. If not for her, I probably never would have gone there. And sometimes I wonder if there are folks on her buddy list who don’t know about her death, who might be sending her emails or messages and wondering why she hasn’t written back and that really bothers me. I think about her being alive often enough that it upsets me because every time I have to remind myself that she is indeed gone. It’s as if she dies a thousand little deaths over and over again. And I would give up a day, a week, a year to hear her laugh and say, “Hey guys. What’s up?” The consistency of how she spoke and laughed, became her logo. And I know it everywhere I am.
I guess the hardest part is that I do still see her. I see her out on the streets, in movies, on busy trains, all over. And I’m able to picture her face so vividly in my head it’s as if she’s still around and I only just saw her minutes before. I can picture her even more clearly than I do my own face or even Toby’s.
I guess I’ll never be sure if closure would have helped me after all. Maybe I’m just feeling the hangover of a dream. Either way, it feels good to write it all down especially since I have been trying so hard to keep days like this off of here as some things are probably better left unwritten. I guess someday I’m hoping to look back on this and see how far I’ve come.