I don’t know how to mourn you because you weren’t a part of my everyday life. I knew you for my school year abroad; the young years of 19-20 when I was still growing into myself. I left you in May, tears coming down my cheeks in the back of a black taxi.
“It’s not good-bye,” I always say. “We’ll see each other again soon.”
It wasn’t an empty promise. Every dear, close, “I’ll-tell-you-my-secrets-in-the-night-friend” I make when I travel I intend on keeping. I love sweet reunions. Hugs in airports, awkwardly fumbling with bags while cooing over how nice and grown-up the other person looks. “How long has it been?” “Too long!” We hug again.
But you died before a reunion could take place. You died the day after I came home suddenly after 15 months overseas. You died at a time when my long-distance friends were my balance and hope. You died at a time when I was too unsettled to feel anything.
I think of you. Your face that is always shaped into a smile in my mind, the curls that you insisted looked better in the rain, your ease of conversation, wit, long fingernails, the way you sang when you did the dishes, your love of bacon which you curiously cooked in the microwave, the way I could talk to you for five hours without moving and never get restless. You were gentle, but strong and confident. You were the rare person who didn’t put up with shit, but still maintained a kind demeanor. Never a coward, but you were never cruel. Humble and level-headed, the type of person you want to drink milky tea with and tell embarrassing stories to. And I did. For almost every night I had the privilege of knowing you.
I miss you. I’m glad that I had you for my time in Edinburgh. It’s seriously fucked up that you died, and I know you’d agree. We’d sit on our peanut-butter stained purple chairs together again and vent about how grossly unfair it is that young people get cancer and die every day. We’d complain and then you’d change the subject to Harry Potter or rugby players or green olives because you were never one to stew in the negative.
I don’t know how to mourn you.
But “It’s not good-bye” and “We’ll see each other again soon.”