I didn’t think much of it when she didn’t post anything to her Tumblr Sunday evening. We were 16-year-old internet addicts according to our parents, but we didn’t always spend all day online. It was only when I woke up the next morning and found a photo of her face (a school-taken photo, one where she hardly looked like herself) circulating with the word missing that I realized what was happening.
For four days we waited. I hoped she had run away for a little while and would return in a few days, just fine. I wasn’t in denial; she was just that unpredictable. Come home, I kept whispering into the night, hoping she’d somehow hear me and stop this madness.
She didn’t. They drained the lake to retrieve her body, but I’m sure it’s full again now, four years later. There’s a memorial there that I’ve promised to visit sometime, and I had half a mind to jump in my car and make the four-hour drive to it this morning. But when you’ve lost someone, you stay away from anything that reminds you that they’re gone for real.
And that’s why this announcement is hard, and why I feel I need to put it out there, so someone holds me to this…
I’m going to write about her. Not a memoir, a novel. A fictionalized her, but her nonetheless. Shortly after she died I made a promise to myself and to her memory that I would write for her. And I have every intention of keeping it.
It won’t be easy. But I owe her.