A Kind of Love

We were not in love. When I heard that you’d died I felt sad. I knew that I wasn’t going to be invited to your funeral, because we had met while you were at university and I never met any of your family. I only knew two of your friends. Every time we went out we went out alone, just you and I, to strange, hidden bars where people played the banjo on rickety stools. I remembered wearing your leather jacket as we smoked in the alleyway outside, and I remembered apologising on your behalf because of your drunkenness in a pub on the way home.

I did not have a period of disbelief, when I was told. It came out of the blue because we hadn’t spoken for a while, I had thought of you in the years between our disconnect and your death, but we’d unintentionally kept our distance. We only had one mutual friend, but she was more my friend than yours.

You died on a boat, I was told, in Greece. You had an epileptic fit and didn’t make it through this time.

We were laying in your bed when you told me you had epilepsy, and that it was severe. You told me because I had to keep an eye on you when we were together and I had to learn to take care of you. I didn’t mind. You’d had this conversation with your roommate, Misha, before, too, but not in bed.

I found your parents on facebook two years later, because I was still thinking about you. We were only together for a short while and yet I found that you were appearing in my thoughts more now that you’d died than the you had been alive. I looked at photographs of your funeral and I felt like a voyeur, like I shouldn’t be looking. But I had wanted to go. Our mutual friend said that I could go if I wanted to, she’d given me the address, but I thought it would be weird of me to just turn up. I looked at your parents’ photos, and photos of your siblings.

You all look alike. I wonder how your parents feel now.

One night, after a bottle of wine, I’m back on your facebook profile. You said that you don’t use it much, and that you’d log in just to accept my friend request, and you did, and now you’re dead I feel like I’m part of a privileged club. I now have two dead facebook friends. I’m flicking through your photographs, remembering how you looked when you slept. I go into your friend’s again and I find your brother. I look through your brother’s photographs. You’ve been dead for two and a half years or so, and his facebook has moved on. I go to your mother’s facebook. Hers hasn’t moved on. Her last post was your funeral. I wonder if that’s just because I can’t see the most recent things, or because she doesn’t really use it.

I’m a bit drunk, and I decide to write to her.

Dear Helen,

You don’t know me, and I’m not sure you’ll even see this message, but I thought I’d write to you anyway. I knew Tom quite well, he and I were together for a little while. I wanted you to know that I still think of him often, and of you and your family. I wonder how you are and how everyone is dealing. That’s all.

And I send it.

I suppose it is a kind of love.

Farrah Moore is in her first year of a part-time MA in Creative and Life Writing. She is a writer and mother of two who is based in London. She writes about bereavement, grief, babies and parenting after the death of a child.

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