Sunday, September 05, 2010

The passing (fiction)

She was dead.

She was dead and I knew her and she was gone.


We'd known each other in college, junior and senior year. Had many classes together junior year, stayed in touch senior year. And then fallen out of touch.

She was dead and I knew her and I felt nothing.

Except maybe relief.

Fallen out of touch was putting it to gently.


She dropped people.

When I met her, she was in the process of dropping Sandy.

Sandy was a cute and popular blond, planning to be a lawyer, crushing on some guy named Todd. It was a party at somebody's apartment. She made a point to say hello and her friend Sandy was freaking out. She didn't calm Sandy, she didn't soothe Sandy. She frequently shot me a look as if to say Sandy was putting her out.

I ended up in the bathroom with Sandy. She had a long cry. When she was nine, her brother had been playing with matches and, somehow, her lower body ended up on fire. Her upper thighs, the reason she never wore short skirts, were ripples of scars. She'd thought Todd was different. But they'd made love and now he wouldn't talk to her and, worse, he was telling everyone about her scars.

I helped Sandy get her make up back on and her spirits back up and we went back out to the party. She seemed like a sweet person but I really wouldn't know because she was dropped shortly after that and I never saw again.

But the other one, the now dead woman, had a habit of dropping people.

She'd dropped Alex, the tennis player, as well. But only after she'd used her for everything she could get.

It's the cold and harsh truth of morning that you try to avoid when you're first getting to know someone who's flattering you and treating you like your opinion matters, someone you think would be a great friend. But it's those moments you go back to after whatever fleeting friendship or 'friendship' flickers away.

I was dropped at graduation.

A few years later, it seemed I was brought back in. The office she was working at was having a huge Christmas party and I was sent a postcard invitation.

I debated whether or not to go. She obviously wasn't a friend. But there was the fact that we all have a chance to mature as the years pass and possibly she was different now? Possibly this was her way of apologizing?

Greeting me with a groan, she explained her secretary had gone through her address book and the invitation was a mistake.

No, she hadn't changed.

And that was the really the last I saw of her.

And, honestly, the last I thought of her.

Until a weekend phone call from a real college friend and, during that call, her death was mentioned. I was amazed at how I felt nothing. No anger, no sadness, no sense of relief, no sense of loss.

She meant nothing to me.

For a bit, I thought I was in some stage like denial. I decided if I looked up her death, if I read her obituary, the floodgates would open. So I hunted it down online.

I felt nothing.

I read about her life and felt nothing.

My only thought, as I closed the window, was, "I guess she got lucky that they didn't write about the money she embezzled from Student Life."
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