I was supposed to be at work at 9:30 this morning. I woke up at around eleven, and called in sick to work. The news of Kit's death, recieved last night from Bonnie, kept me up late and I forgot to set my alarm clock. But really, does it matter that I missed a day of work at the Strand when one of my peers has died?
As soon as I got off the phone with Bonnie last night, I felt like I needed to process this information to somehow make the seemingly unreal nature of the news into my reality, and I thought I could walk my way into comfort, that by walking, I could somehow work everything out, that walking would make everything all right. It's so easy, so little room for mistakes. One foot in front of the other, and then the other foot in front of the other, and on and on, and you just go, and walk, and it's easy, so fucking easy. But the streets were filled with people my age, with people Kit's age, all of them dressed so well, and looking happy being dressed well. And the scenery did not seem very conducive to the type of thinking that needed to get done, rather it just seemed completely jarring, so not right. These people all happy, all oblivious. The weather was warm, yesterday it got above ninety. Today, it did the same. It did the same. And what is this "it" that I am attributing control of the weather, of the temperature to? Some huge natural system that I don't understand. I studied literature, I never spent enough time with science. I don't know. But yes, the weather was warm, so warm, which it had not been for so long, and the feeling that this heat produced in me was something close to nostalgia. Yesterday, while eating lunch in Union Square, sitting on the warm ground, I could feel the heat working its way through my palms which were in contact with the hot ground, the warm shivers rippling through my body.
And last night, walking for the short period of time I did walk, the news of Kit's death and the heat combined to give me more of those shivers of warmth, a natural system working its way through me, or no, me being aware that I am part of this natural system, that my body reacts to heat, that it is sevety percent water. And I do not understand the weather, big natural systems, the whole process of living and dying. The finality of his absence hit me in brief moments of thought last night, where I felt like I was closer to actually coming to terms with what death means, specifically, what Kit's does. And the news of a death always provokes this reaction that is alternatly selfless and so so selfish. There is the reaction that is nothing but concern for his family, his younger brother and how they are at all able to cope with a situation such as the one that has been presented to them. There is the feeling of loss, that this was a youth, a genuinely happy youth who could so easily provoke a smile in any one of you, and who now would no longer be able to do so. But then, in quick turns of thought, the same thoughts morph into the selfish variety - thinking about his family provokes thoughts of your own family and how they would react to such a situation. But to me, that seems like how we often choose to deal with things we can not easily comprehend for whatever reasons, be them, a desire not to understand or just a sincere inability to. It's neccesary to put into terms that we can more easily understand, imagine our own selves in these situations. And he is so young, was so young. And I am to. I was. I am learning how to refer to a human, a friend in the past tense, and this is something I have not yet had to do in life. This more than anything else yet, brings that reality of this situation home to me, the tense I have to use to reference someone. That the present tense is no longer gramatically correct. Any death always forces issues of our own mortality to the surface of our thoughts, issues that we ignore by focusing on the banal, by investing so much energy into petty things, petty thoughts, petty concerns. "We barter the truth for trifles," is a quote from The Way of the Pilgrim that I found in my notebook this afternoon when I was still trying to accept this news.
In these past hours, I have been recalling his smile, his lisp, drinking with him, thinking that this was such an alive person, a person who always seems genuinely happy with it all and trying to reconcile those recalled images from somewhere in my memorey, somewhere, some time spent in the sun, with the news that he is no longer alive. And it is a hard thing to do, a thing I am still struggling with. I think: He was so young, so young. And then that turns into the selfish thoughts: So am I. So are we. And therefore A = C. It could have been any one, it still could be. This natural system of life, of fickle weather is a thing I am learning is an immutable fact of life, one I need to concern myself with more. And I am as sad as I have been in a long while, but yet still think, not sad enough.