I had promised myself I wouldn’t write about this. It seems…exploitative. Wrong.
But for some reason it keeps presenting itself.
Let me preface things by saying I’m not claiming to be some big mournful friend. I am not that, to the point that I wasn’t even Facebook friends with these people. I don’t really know why – there was no ill will. It’s just not something I ever did – hunt them down and friend them.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter.
Tuesday morning, Josh was getting up and dressed for his day. He was up and about like always, and on one of his trips in and out of the bedroom, I heard him catch his breath. I turned over to see him standing in the doorway, his phone glowing in his eyes.
“Amanda Cossey was shot. She’s dead.”
It was the most bizarre thing I could imagine being said. He might as well have been talking about goats with purple horns and allergies.
I saw faces, names, confusion of memories and high school and passing acquaintances.
Amanda had been in school with me for years. I remember her as bubbly and popular, but one of the rare kinds of bubbly and popular where she actually seemed sincere. I remembered basketball games and cheerleading.
And then it was just there, like something raw in my belly. I felt completely useless, and the kind of pretentious that makes you feel dirty.
This sounds awful – but she wasn’t my friend. She was a remembered presence, someone I thought of fondly. I hadn’t seen her since high school. I didn’t know when she got married or when her baby was born.
To feel the way I felt was somehow misplaced.
I’m still not sure why.
The day passed, the requisite Facebook statuses were posted. News stories.
I know it’s normal to be confused when something like this happens.
Except, dammit all, it’s not. Nothing about this is normal. And it doesn’t matter if we were friends or not.
The fact is that a girl I knew is dead. Not because she was sick or because a car crashed. Because someone saw her as an obstacle instead of what she was…
She wasn’t these things to me.
But it doesn’t seem to matter.
I don’t want to be one of those people who immediately jumps on any tragedy to talk about how great the person was and how close we were.
I have good memories of Amanda. She didn’t deserve this kind of end.
I hope one day we understand things like this.