how many roads?

I got the news of an old friend’s death on Saturday morning, at his own hands, as they say.

I spent this weekend not at Artscape, like all other Baltimoreans, but talking to our mutual friends, stunned and uncomprehending. I haven’t left the house since I found out.
Some of the writers went floating down the river in inner tubes today. I did not go.

I spent today in a frenzy of composition, writing a fifty-page-long story of every incident I remembered from the ten years of our friendship – incorporating emails and all the data I had, to try to make sense of his death. It’s done now.

I thought, initially, that it would be a tribute to him that I would put up here. But it’s far too personal. I may say something about him here, someday. But not now. Forgive me for quoting Orlando Legolas, but, “For me, the grief is still too near.”

No one who reads this blog knows him. But he was twenty-eight, and he was the greatest writer of my generation I have ever known. I know many very good writers. He was the best. And he was also my friend.

I will miss him every day of my life and all the days after that, too.

My father suggested that I go into one of Maryland’s many Catholic churches and light a candle for him – I think I will do that tomorrow. I had to write the story first, but now that it’s done, I could do that.

If you are the praying type, please keep my friend in your prayers. I don’t know why I can’t say his name here, but I can’t. I can’t. But if you pray for the young writer who is dead, I think that will be good enough.

Thank you, whoever you are, you who are reading, for continuing to ride alongside me in this wagon caravan / Big Thunder Mountain / Cadillac Escalade / velocipede / called life.

That’s enough. I’m exhausted – I’ve been writing for ten hours. I hope that now I will be able to sleep. A few minutes ago, Amelia the cat led another, larger, more hostile black cat into my room. I have no idea how they got in, but it was really creepy to see two black cats walk around the door when you only expect one. I shut the door, and I’m going to bed.

Tomorrow I will go to the church and the library. And something else will happen, the day after that.