When typing this post, the first words I wrote were “I lost a friend today.”
Then I erased it. Precision. One of my partners (my favourite, truth be known) once told me I was more poetic when I was trying to be precise, than when I attempt to be poetic. I shall endeavor to follow this advice.
So, being precise. Today, Vincent died. Vincent was a friend, a lover, and a catalyst in my life.
Our time together started in Hawaii, traversed half the globe and ended when he moved to Chile for his job I had grad schools to attend. His life started in France, mine in the western US. He was critically injured in a car wreck involving a bus. I always despised the plot function of killing someone by bus. Very ‘Nicholas Sparks’ and too trite for Vincent. Trite. What a way to describe the death of someone I love. Seriously though, a bus? Weak- as that crappy City of Angels movie was. He deserved something spectacular, if he was going to check out early.
Fuck propriety to hell, he always deserved better.
Speaking of being trite, I knew the moment we first met that we would likely be together eventually. I walked into the little house in Hawaii where I would be staying for the semester and made eye-contact with Vincent and his bizarrely no-coloured eyes. His passport said verde but they were usually an indeterminate shade, a common moth wing colored through with concrete. He had a blue cast on his left arm (from biking home drunk after a Christmas party) and a hand holding a bit of bloody tissue to his ear (where the nurses messed up his piercing when he went in for X-rays). I was 19 and fresh off the plane from Utah. There was a mild thrum of recognition, or acknowledgement when we looked at one another across the kitchen island.
Oh, ok then. I thought.
I was busy enacting a three part Shakespearean tragedy with my own misguided Romeo for the better part of the semester, so Vincent and I fell into an easy rhythm of friendship. He brought me into the fold of mostly-European expats that lived in the quirky little set of boarding houses, and made sure I was fed. I let him pick odd movies to watch. I still remember his preface to Tarantino’s Death Proof- “You’ll like it, Lei. It’s feminist.” Good grief.
You ever have a friend you’ve either had a falling out with, or simply fallen out of touch with call you out of the blue to reconnect, months or years later? And you think “Well, they’re either on a 12-step program or someone died and the mortality salience is making them recognize the pettiness of the argument, or the importance of letting people know how you feel.”?
Well, maybe not in those words, unless you’re a social psychologist or spend too much time in academia for your own good. Regardless, I find the urge to connect with people (one person- the aforementioned Romeo, in fact) to be rather impressive. I haven’t done it yet. I’m not sure if I will or not. It seems to be lacking in authenticity to need a reminder of the precarious line we walk before I bother to contact someone. Though that’s probably justification for my own pride and not anything more noble.
The wave of renewed, sentimental paranoia I am experiencing is the behavioural signature of grief. Then again, I am rather convinced that our emotional experiences are generally have functional utility. In this case, it would be to maintain social cohesion and improve social support in times of vulnerability.
The scientist in me says that there is internal logical consistency in this.
The pragmatist says I should just call the man and be done with it.
The encroaching headache is voting for bed.
Tu me manques, Vincent, Je t’aime. Fais des beaux reves.