My friend Brian died in February. We had a nice conversation about this when he spoke to me tonight.
I have an email address that I haven’t used in a long time. Maybe since last year. November, possibly? I didn’t use it for much. It was set up in Outlook so that any mail that went to that address was immediately siphoned off to a folder, which I haven’t opened since….November.
Then I opened it tonight and his name shocked me. His beautiful name. I always loved his name. And the impact of seeing it twice, in bold black, in my email box was momentarily like falling. Involuntary tears welled in my eyes. I clicked the first one, the older one, which was a picture taken from his phone. The second was a letter. Three paragraphs. Three paragraphs that I hadn’t read while he was alive.
Destiny… fate. I believe to try to explain this would bump into Godel very quickly. But I think I can say this: knowledge is a fluid thing. There are things we can know without knowing why we know it, and things we know for a short period time but forget. Then there are things that we seem to be close to knowing, some truth, and then it vanishes before we have had time to examine it. But maybe even then, before we can examine it, the knowledge has been put to good use. Maybe we can’t know what purpose it serves, but maybe it has made some impression somewhere, this flicker… this nimbus of thought. And maybe that’s enough.
I like to think that whatever Brian needed to tell me while he was here, I simply wasn’t in a position to hear. But now that he’s gone, and his words have chosen to reach me at this time, maybe there is meaning in that. The sentiments he expressed are precious to me – his concern for me, his adventurous nature. His sweetness. It all lives on, in a very literal sense.
I typed a reply. I know its silly, but I’m like that sometimes. I told him I miss him. I told him the world dimmed and narrowed a little bit when he died, that I will forever think of him when I think of Chicago. And then I pressed send. Though I understand quite well that there are scores of reasons, technical reasons that involve POP3 and lazy network engineers who simply haven’t de-permissioned his account, it has not yet bounced back undeliverable. As I received his words in happenstance, perhaps in some way I will never understand, he has received mine.