I know a guy that committed suicide. He was a friend of a friend. She had a crush on him. He came to my house once and charmed us, bringing McDonalds to four hungover girls on a bleak Sunday. He made us laugh. He was skinny. Big mouth and pale eyes, so faintly blue they were almost clear. I remember him drunk and dancing. I remember that my friend loved him. I remember that I didn't go to his funeral because I said that I didn't really know him. I remember that my friend was sad that I didn't come. She said, "I thought you would have understood". I said sorry. I didn't tell her that that was the reason I couldn't come.
I met a woman at Delhi airport. We were both getting foot massages. She had also come from Rishikesh. She was glowing. It does that to you. I was coming from some yoga thing, or other. She, from a week of Satsang with Mooji. She said Mooji gave her, her life back and I smiled. I think yoga gives me my life back in increments. Only the parts that I can handle. She gave me her email and told me to write. Before I did, I googled her. She was the mother of a boy. He jumped from the tenth floor of the library at NYU. He was twenty years old. He was handsome. She's now a mental health activist. It makes sense. I didn't write her. There are no words.
I met a Professor at a cocktail party. Her name was Heidi. She teaches anthropology at Columbia. I asked her lots of questions about her students and field of work. She was vibrant. She mentioned her late husband and I murmured my sorries. What pain, to find love, keep it, and lose it in the end anyway. She talked about the international students and the difficulty that comes with have no contiguous campus at Columbia. We agreed that the City can be brutal. Columbia's fees are high. But the education is good. She is passionate. She cares. I would have liked it if she were one of my professors. "You want to know the saddest thing?" she said. "Last year nine students committed suicide. Nine undergraduate students." I bowed my head a little and agreed, "it really is the saddest thing".
Do you remember what it was like to be fourteen?
I will remember it for the rest of my life. It feels like I am doomed to tell stories about being fourteen forever. I am bored of them.
A friend wrote a letter of recommendation for me, and in it he said, some writers write about many things, but Kiri has been writing about one theme for her entire life: loss. I sobbed into the flickering screen when I read it, because it is true.
For how much longer will I try to find a way to write the feeling of being abandoned out of me? For how much longer will I paint the pain as a gift? How much longer will I try to understand the kind of sick that makes a person turn their back on their life and their only daughter? (For how much longer will I worry that this fate might also await me).
The trauma is alive. It is all pain. All guilt. All suffering. All loneliness. Whenever I am hurt, she is hurting me again. Whenever I am left, she is abandoning me again. I try to martyr her, so I don't have to hate her. I said, just last night, to friends on the couch as I choked, "if she didn't die, I wouldn't be here. She sacrificed everything for me".
I say it because I want it to be true. I want to make peace. I want to be free. From the girl who had a mother who committed suicide on a crisp August Friday. She kissed me goodbye and let me walk to school knowing no one would be there to pick me up.
At her funeral, I made a speech. I said, "I will always love you". And, it is true. It is the love that bleeds these never-ending stories out on paper. It is the love that writes the loss in a way that makes it sound heroic. It is the love that will never stop trying to save her.