143 Days

June 8, 2012
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143.
It has been 143 days since I first heard the most horrifying, devastating news one can hear about a person they barely knew. Someone who held a special significance for a friend, but not anyone very close to me. This girl, the one who for the last 143 days has been a subject of my most particularly haunting thoughts, was once a face among many. My one solid memory of her is as the girl who wanted to meet Christ.
My best friend is something of an actress. An extremely skilled and accomplished actress if you ask me, but that’s far from the point. I attended one of her many performances some months ago and read in the playbill that she had a short dedication to me. I always loved reading these, but this poor pamphlet had a raging typo that made me gasp with quiet laughter. Instead of reading, “and to Christopher, for existing and what not”, it read, “to Christ, for existing and what not”. This was made even more comical by the fact that neither I nor my best friend is very religious.
The performance was fantastic, as always. Afterwards, I found my precious confidante and she insisted I meet her friend Maggie. This friend was interested in the spiritual experience she would have by meeting Christ. We exchanged a few niceties, compliments and the like. She was very level-headed, sociable and fun. I had even heard stories of outrageous adventures she had been a part of. What’s not to love?
In these last 143 days, that memory has played over in my head like the cruelest broken record imaginable. Was there any sign that she needed help? If she had suddenly reached out to me, begging for spiritual and emotional counsel, as I wish she had done, would I have accepted the task? Is it realistic to think that she could have and can still be helped?
I almost want to blame her. For what, I could never explain. The adage goes to never judge until a mile in someone’s shoes have been walked. Forget a mile; I’ve never walked 3 steps in her shoes. What do I know about her family, her life, the way she saw the world? Maybe that’s what has haunted me the most, what right to emotion do I have concerning this person I’ve spent no more than five minutes with? I can think she’s selfish, dramatic, unwilling to see the consequences of her actions, but I am a grasping at fleeting smoke. My argument is KO’d, defeated, washed out, and finished by one simple fact: she is, and forever will be, a stranger to me.
All of this is painstakingly moot. The philosophy, the speculation, the mysterious emotions we are dealing with are tragically irrelevant. Nothing will change her. 143 days ago, Maggie took her own life. From one stranger to another, I hope you found exactly what you were looking for. I don’t know what your future holds, or the future of any of us for that matter, but in a fragile, secretive way, I hope you can read this. Know that you are sorely missed.




-C





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