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A good friend died this weekend. In a fire. Rumors abound as to what happened: one story tells of an alcoholic fugue and a burning cigarette, one tells of a strage explosion - the whole place just went !woosh!, one claims he was out and safe and went back inside in search of something...?

I don't really give a damn about the story to be honest.

Courtney was a fascinating fellow. He was also on my list of people most likely to live forever in eternal youth. When I told a friend that he said, "Well - I guess he will now."

That's not exactly what I'm looking for - but I understand the sentiment.

Everyone seems to have a completely different view of Courney after the fact. The person who relayed the information to me claimed it was "bound to happen, Courtney was obsessed with death, obsessed with anger and an alcoholic."

I've never seen that side of Courtney - all the hours I spent with him were full of energy and vitality. Courtney was good at enjoying himself and enjoying people around him. That was my impression, however misguided or misinformed that may be - because I know I didn't see all of the him that was there to be seen.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the divergent personalities we develop to deal with different people and different places and different times and different wants. I seem do this endlessly. All of my friends fulfill certain needs and niches, and I behave drastically different around them and in those roles - one understands the way you think about words and images and ideas so everything you do with that person revolves around those words and images and ideas... another feels what you want out of life but is equally as confused and increasingly skeptical about getting it... another you live with and the bond is physical and immediate and personal - home... another you might occasionally sleep with... another you don't want to see ever again but that's not an option... another you drink with for the sake of companionship... another you spend time with because of the past knowing there's no future... another you sit next to at the job you don't give a flying fuck about but somehow feel the need to maintain appearances...

There's a lot of me's out there. And of everyones, I'd imagine - although I don't know for sure... I once had a lover tell me I was the most inconsistent person she'd ever met. I didn't find that offensive, but I can understand the intent.

But I was talking about Courtney, and wound up rambling about myself. Death seems to do that - surprise, surprise, right? You take a mass of people that you know know and love and breathe with and you elevate them to this point where they have a role in your life - a place... what I'm trying to say is this: I've always planned on living forever. And in some ways I've planned on everyone I know living forever. I have no framework for death except as a disappearence - !poof! - someone's not in my life anymore - but hey, you haven't seen Courtney in a year anyway, were they really in your life before? How about this - if there is someone in our lives that provides meaning, regardless of the degree, and that someone is out in the world somewhere, but no longer in contact - does that meaning still have value? Does it have value beyond the realm of memory - do we need participation and reinforcement to keep that meaning alive? Almost all of me is screaming no... but at least one part is whispering that if the answer was no this wouldn't be a big deal. And maybe it's not.

I feel like the explorer who suddenly is exposed as flesh and blood afterall. There's a tribe of hungry cannibals waiting the rest of us at the bottom of this all, and all those anthro classes ain't gonna help one bit.

Courtney was 22. He graduated from Bard College in May, 2000 having studied Theatre. He was very fond of acting, tequila and being a good ole southern boy in the northern wastes. He was also very fond of my couch, so I gave it to him. It was a beautiful blue velvet victorian love seat, and it was passed down to me by someone before. I can only imagine it too was in his house this weekend, but although beautiful - a couch doesn't deserve a eulogy, if that's really what this is.

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