The last time I saw you, you were holding a suitcase. We were at the end of our rope. You were headed to San Diego on a holistic vacation, and I was moving out. I don’t think we hugged, and I’m certain we didn’t look each other in the eyes. Even after you got back, we barely exchanged a few texts. I tried calling you. I wanted to say I was sorry for my part. I had to let you know that I still thought you were a crazy bitch, but I still loved you anyway. I never got the chance though, because you died on Monday. Quietly in your sleep, you left us. You were 26- way too young even, for someone as fashionably reckless as you.
Your tragic flaw was that you loved killing with kindness. You were addicted to the bullet wounds. You didn’t believe in treading lightly. You were as bold as the red lips you wore, and as dark as the cat eye you regularly rocked. Your voice was harsh like the vodka you kept hiding, but soft like the curves of your cigarettes. You walked like a legend though it was nothing you could put on your resume. Your talent was not wasted, but maybe distributed incorrectly. I met you my second week in Chicago through the internet. You were looking for a roommate and I was looking for a home. Within each other we found both. You became a good friend, a partner in crime, a sister, and an enemy-sometimes each for long stretches, and sometimes all in the same day. I wished you would get your shit together, you wished I would relax.
In the end, neither of those things happened-least not that you were around long enough to see.
I never thought the only times we spent in your car singing at the top of our lungs would have a finite quantity. The only real emptiness in death is not where we go, but what is left. Our hearts still feel like you’re around and your absence is less like a spare concert ticket and more like a phantom limb. Every step I take I see myself pouring my guts out all over the streets we used to walk, and all anyone else can see they look at me is maybe a young woman who was up late drinking, or couldn’t get to sleep for some hapless circumstance. I think people don’t like seeing death in strangers. It would make us feel connected, and in tern vulnerable.
God forbid we walked around with out hearts out. People find flashing gentles less appalling.
You were never the kind of woman that did that. Every time you tried, it spit out like venom. You came off as aggressive, but you were really just so starved for love. That hunger consumed you, and coddled you in the same way a bottle of liquor holds the alcoholic. There was a huge piece of you that was tart like the spirit, the joy part of the bottle you couldn’t lick clean enough.
You died trying to be the woman of someone else’s dreams. Someone you didn’t know. Someone who didn’t matter. You died trying to live up to this false expectation you invented through some singer you idolized. You didn’t know that you were too good to be the protagonist in a Lana Del Ray song. I’m not sure that could have saved you, but at least it would have made your last years kinder. It would have made the taste this situation left in our mouths less bitter and more sweet.