Just found out via Facebook news feed that an old friend died yesterday. No explanation. Just friends and family talking about him. Sad emojis, “feeling sad” Facebook-prescribed statuses, and then actual words elucidating their sadness. “See you on the other side” messages.
I don't have that comfort.
Just the reality of this person I knew for a couple short years gone, just like that. I didn't respond to the last text he sent me several months ago. I haven't talked to him in a few years, since I moved an hour down the road. I don't have heaven to wait till and talk to him, nothing to lighten the surprisingly immense weight of his death. The first one I've ever cared about in the course of my life.
Why the fuck didn't I text him back? Why is the world around me suddenly devoid of fuzzy illusions, suddenly crisp and plain and truthful?
A man I knew died, and with that fog lifted I see I cared about him more than I consciously believed. My busy, foggy mind decided not to text him back that day I was on vacation across the country. That same mind never gave weight to the thought that I should text him later. A clearer head might've asked how he'd been, made plans to visit that trailer in the woods and bullshit over a can or 10 of Natty Light. I could've met his new son.
Why the fuck did I think my thoughts were more important than someone else?
Later. And we always want to know how it happened, don't we? It's like death has struck close to home, and we just hope to avoid the same fate. We constantly play ignorant of the infinite ways our fragile lives can suddenly come to an end, so we clamor to hear about these first accounts so we can quietly say, Oh, I definitely wouldn't go out that way. How ignorant we are of the perpetual situation we're in. How ignorant I've been.