that color / the waves / break

by sophie

my  friend becca died last week in her sleep. she was 27 and she was ethereal  and i hadn’t seen her in years, had not talked to her outside of the internet in years. the grief that i feel for her somehow does not correlate to the degree of what people might usually regard as friendship. perhaps the grief i feel correlates to the quality of our friendship, how specific and necessary my connection to her felt. i admired her, maybe in part made her a minor idol, larger than life,  this representation of what i was not and felt i could not be — this delicate girl, fluent, elegant, detailed. when i think of her, i see a pearl necklace, a pink dress, thin wrists, a nest of red hair ( we always said our hair had crushes on one another). i see mass ave and the paradise and the middle east, i see myself younger, smoking, waiting on corners and outside of bars. i see the amanda and the anna and the emilyn of 2005.  and yet, and yet, none of this was becca. i cannot say enough about her; i know so little. i know only what i saw, what i heard, what she wanted me and the wider world  to see and hear on the internet. she curated a post in my old blog – found the image, the music, the poem by eileen myles. the poem is what breaks me.

i have been writing to a friend of hers in paris, and as i sat outside writing this afternoon, one white feather fell from the sky. ( what can i say, becca? i saw it. ) in boston, against all odds, a candle lit 24 hours ago in her memory is still burning while a huge storm batters the city. the strangest thing about her death is the sudden rawness of feeling i have towards the women she loved who were until last week, strangers, pictures on the internet. i walked into a world of her closest friends. cassandra came up from nowhere on the street in harvard square with the sun behind her and — imagine her profile and her odd glow, a photograph breathing. she told me where siena was, and i went. (how can i summarize this … i don’t want to but must, the sequence of events clicked along entirely out of my hands it seemed). i picked up a handful of rose petals in harvard square – it seemed the right thing to do – brought them to the house.

 with siena, and the petals. i don’t have the words for this. 

i felt so disembodied surrounded by becca’s best friends and lovers — i, a distant friend, someone who could not say a thing about becca’s daily life, mourning with those who knew her body and breath and laughter.  but it felt right to be with them and feels so awful, this terrible sudden gift of connection with people who i didn’t even know i longed to know. they are like her – they see a world of possibility, they love hard. i stood at the grave in way  alone and listened to her family and friends and lovers speak of her and thought, i am here to stand for The Internet, for those who could not be at the grave, for those who loved what she did and how she saw and listened and were given richer lives because of what becca shared.

I didn’t go to boston because of the funeral – i’m usually in town now once or twice a year, happened to be there. the timing aligned, this excruciating time. i can’t really process it – the awful serendipity. i know that i’m grateful to have been there.  there is so much more to say – something about women, something about the internet and sex and death and real love. there were white roses, a light blue casket. we watched through the hedges as they lowered her into the ground and the light hit us, made silhouettes of all.

i would say rest in peace, but i hope, becca, you rest in song.

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