My long-time best friend back in NJ texted me the other day…
“Do you remember <girls name> from high school?” (Lets call her D)
“Sure! I remember D. she was nice, we were in HR together”
I thought the next time we’d speak, he and I would go over how he’d ran into her somewhere and they’d chatted and she’d remembered me fondly (hopefully) and that it would be a good story. I was shocked when a few minutes later when I received a reply:
“I just found out that she hung herself last year!”
And so over the last week or so, my mind has returned to D. We were in homeroom together and because our last names were close, we always sat near each other. We were in a couple of classes together, too. We weren’t super close, though I’m sure she signed my yearbook “Friends Forever” or something equally poignant for 17 year olds.
To me, she was almost the prototypical “Jersey Girl” from those days. Big hair, big earrings, lotsa spunk and sass. School was never her “thing”, but I always suspected she was smarter than she let on. Feisty – she would swing between outrage and excitement, but more often than not she was smiling.
Of course, we were never in contact much after high school. Probably ran into her once or twice in church while home from college. Some internet digging found that she’d married her high school (and grade school, I believe) sweetheart, had a child, worked in real estate. I wonder about the woman that she became.
In 2006, she suffered from a brain aneurysm, and a year later took her own life. How had that changed her? Had she become someone else?
I really don’t know why this story has captured my attention so. We hadn’t interacted in 25 years, and we really weren’t great friends. Maybe because of that, she’s frozen in time – always a fun teenage girl, unburdened by anything more than high school drama – and the harsh reality of her fate reminds me that that reality is long gone. I don’t know.
I have no idea where my high-school yearbook is – probably discarded during one of at least a dozen moves since I graduated. For once, I wish I still had it so that I could remind myself of the D. that I knew one more time.