Saturday, 22 October 2016

My Dead Friend

Today would've been my best friend Luca's 24th birthday. And you, non-existent reader, never had the pleasure of meeting him, but trust me when I say that if ever there was someone in this world who was the kindest creature that had ever graced and purified the entire planet with his presence, that would be my friend, Luca. If someone truly deserved heaven, it was him.

Which is ironic because he was gay and according to church, he wouldn't qualify for that. But anyways.

Luca's death, a month and 21 days ago, taught me about the irreversibility of things. 

I had never known about just how fleeting everything in this world can be until I woke up the past September 2nd, brushed my teeth and got dressed to go to uni, did a quick Facebook browse before I left my boyfriend's apartment, and collapsed into tears and despair on his couch as I scrolled down the posts of people wishing him an easier existence and grieving his departure, in disbelief.

I couldn't stop crying for hours, hysterically. I skipped classes that day. I called my mother to tell her about it and we cried together. One of his best friends and I talked for about two hours about all of the things he meant to both of us. I wrote something on his Facebook profile, as if I was able to let him know how big was the hole he was leaving in my life. As if he could read it. And some part of me was expecting him to reply with some snarky geek reference, like he always did.

A month later, I haven't been able to shake that feeling. The feeling that he's not gone, not really, and I have a hard time understanding why. The conscious part of me knows he's dead, but somehow I still expect him to make a post about the fifth season of Game of Thrones or tell a funny anecdote from work, like he used to.

I thought about this all afternoon, and I think I've come up with an answer to the fact that while I know and understand that he died that day, I feel like he might show up again from a long vacation, with his skin burnt (he was too white for this world) and a thousand anecdotes to share. I thought about the possibility of it being closure, but it doesn't really feel like it, although I believe it is a contributing factor.

I think that I'm just not used to things being out of my reach. Because until the day Luca died, I felt that everything in my life, the things I had and the things I didn't and were part of my imagination, were within the realm of possible things. Being a Hollywood actress is near to impossible for a girl living in the third world like me, but it's achievable as long as you do all it takes to get to the big screen, like acting in plays and throwing yourself out there for people to know you. Being the next Marta Argerich is inconceivable for a regular pianist like me, but it's a doable thing, if I practiced double as much as I currently do. Living in Europe is almost an utopia for me, but I can get there if I work hard and save everything I earn.

Getting a dead friend back, however, is impossible, no matter what you do. You can whine all you want, you can cry all you want, you can pray all you want if you believe in that sort of thing; nothing is going to bring him back. 

I'm not used for doors to be closed for me, because, as I was saying, I could become a famous artist if I wanted. It sure would take enormous amounts of effort and talent (things I don't think I have), but it's humanly possible. All the things I've ever wanted are things I can get: living in a big apartment in a city where it always rains, growing old with my husband and lead an easy life living in a cabin in the woods, adopting thirty dogs, mastering an instrument and two languages, growing a tree, having twins and teaching them to play the piano, taking a picture in every city around the globe, reading three thousand books, becoming a historian, writing a pretentious novel...I doubt I'll achieve any of these things in my life, but I know I can do it if I really wanted to, if I put my every breath into making these things happen. These things that I want, I can get: all I have to do is muster all my courage and motivation, and I'm already halfway there. Will I commit to making them happen? Who knows, but that's a matter of whether I want them to happen or not, that's my decision. I can always count on my will and effort to get these things; they'll always be there, waiting.

Talking to my friend ever again is not one of these things, as I fail to realise every day.

I've never experienced this kind of death, the death that makes everything around you change and become a stranger place. When I was a child, a grandfather and an aunt I knew as much as a child can know someone died; a year ago, my dog died, this year two of my teachers at uni died. But death has never hit so close to home like this, death has never been so real to me like it felt when I learned of my friend's death. I hadn't properly experienced death until then. Sure, I cried and mourned all those demises in some level (I spent days crying for my late dog, and I felt a little sad for my Language teacher), but never like this. Death wasn't a thing in my life.

When I think about his death, I get the feeling that I could somehow fix this. That the only thing between me and my goal (it being getting my friend back from the dead, in this scenario) is an incredible amount of effort, like the effort I'd have to make to earn a shitload of money and move to Europe. And though I know there are no such things as spells to raise the dead and that I'm not living in a Life is Strange video-game where I could just take a picture and jump back to the last time I was with my friend in order to save him, I can't stop feeling like it's achievable. I'm delusional. 

The thing about my friendship with Luca is that we talked online, mostly. We saw each other a maximum of four or five times in our seven-years-old friendship. I existed to him as a couple of Doctor Who references on Facebook and he existed to me as a variety of opinions about life and TV series. And though this may seem like we were strangers to each other, I feel like this existence was enough for both of us, we loved each other all the same. The fact that we didn't see each other face to face very often meant nothing, we still knew each other like the very palm of our hands.

And since he existed to me as a little Facebook beep and a string of words in pixels, the only way I can perceive his absence is through the lack of the notification that let me know he's sent me a text or that he's posted a funny video on my wall. If a uni friend were to die tomorrow, perhaps I would be more able to come to terms with his/her death, because s/he would leave a physical empty space behind. But with Luca, who I knew more as a spirit than a body, it's not so easy. It feels like little has changed since he passed away, because when he was alive we wouldn't see each other in person much. And perhaps that's why I feel like I'm about to receive a text from him, any second now.

I don't think I'll ever be able to fully acknowledge his death. A part of me feels like the next time I talk to him, I'll say something along the lines of "Oh my god, I'm so glad you're alive. I'm so glad you're alive. Get away from that house. Please leave. It's been hell without you."

I don't feel like translating this one.