I just found out a girl who lived in my dorm in school committed suicide. I didn’t know her very well, but honestly, what I did know I didn’t like very much. One of my few memories of her was from when my suite stole the stove from her suite. She sent an angry email to the dorm, demanding to know what had happened with the stove.
I responded, saying we should meet with the house mediators and discuss stove distribution because I was not entirely convinced their need for one stove was greater than our need for two. She responded back with a furious email, clearly unaware that I was trolling her. I laughed with my friends about it.
Now, however, I realize she was probably an unhappy person even then. We found her inability to take a joke funny at the time, but it haunts me now. In addition to having no sense of humor, she was also a conventionally attractive girl with a countercultural style. Apparently, she was also extremely good at math, taking on an immense workload while working to pay her way through college. I had no real sense of the person she was, or the type of stress she may have been under, that led her to reacting the way she did to our juvenile behavior.
When I was first told about her suicide, I remember feeling a deep blankness inside me. I didn’t know her well, or have much affection for her, but I just wanted her out in the world, doing her thing. She was supposed to be *there* working hard and responding humorlessly to emails. What does it mean that she isn’t? What does it mean that she’s gone?
When I ask myself these questions, there I just feel the nothing that is her future. I remember watching her as she worked at the front desk doing her work, and thinking unkind thoughts about her. What if I could go back in time, and whisper in my younger ears “she will die when she’s 31.” How would that have changed anything? Would I have walked up to her one of the many times I walked past her and said hello?