display | more...
And she died a little under three years ago. I think the first time I met her was when she showed up at one of my improv theatre groups, wanting to participate. She was a goth, like a good many other people in my group, and I remember being struck by how beautiful she was, and how she really didn't need all the makeup.

I don't recall if they were going out at the time I met her, but she soon hooked up with a good friend of mine, Devon. Devon, a part-time goth, is someone I've written about before, quite often, and I recall being happy for him. He had been having more than a little bad luck in the way of relationships, and I hoped this one would go better than the last few.

The night before she killed herself, Adam, Devon, Natalie, and myself were in Devon's basement, with bags full of cookies, chips, cheesy-things, pop, and a rented copy of Pink Floyd's The Wall. We hadn't moved into the TV room yet, and we were all sitting on, or around a couch, just joking and laughing. I remember noticing that Natalie wasn't laughing too much, or talking too much, or doing much of anything. Just kinda sitting on the floor near the couch, her arms around her legs, smiling at our jokes, watching us. I wanted to cheer her up, but I really didn't have any idea how. So, I did the only thing I could think of. I leaned over, extending my arm towards her.

"Cookie?" I offered. It was a Chewy Chips Ahoy, my then-favourite type of junk food in the world.

She looked up at me, and blinked, smiling.

"Cookie!" I repeated, "Just for you."

She laughed quietly, and shook her head.

"Why not? They're good for you. Really, they are."

"No thank you."

I chuckled. "But whyever not? It's a cookie. I'll be hurt forever if you don't accept my humble offerings of food."

Laughing again, she declined. "Thanks anyway. I've got to watch my figure, though. So no cookies for me."

I grinned, and shook my fist in mock frustration. Soon after that, the cookies eaten and forgotten, we sat down to watch The Wall. Natalie had never seen it before, and we brewed coffee in the TV room, sipping java and listening to Floyd. The evening eventually ended, and I went home.

The next morning, Adam and Aun came over to my house. They had just stepped in the front door when the phone rang. It was Devon, and he asked me to take him off speakerphone. I did, and he asked to speak with Adam. I handed the phone to Adam, and after a few moments, he hung it up, looking at me.

"Natalie's dead." He said it in the same way one would say 'the banana is yellow', without life to it. "Everyone is at Kelly's. Let's go."

Kelly was an ex-girlfriend of mine, and we had stayed friends since then. She was a lot closer to Natalie than I was, and I wondered how her and Devon were doing. We ran, literally, to Kelly's house, where Kelly, her boyfriend Alex, and Devon were standing on the front porch. I gave Kelly a hug, and she wept on my shoulder. I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything at all.

When I looked at Devon, I could tell he had been crying as well. He looked at me, and shook his head. "Oh Christ, Jai...I'm sorry I didn't tell you over the phone..I dunno. I didn't want you to find out. I wasn't thinking....I'm sorry, man..." I looked at him a moment longer, and gave him a hug, because I didn't know what else to do. Devon was quite a few inches taller than me, and outweighed me by about fifty pounds, and for a long moment on Kelly's porch, we just held each other, lost in our own thoughts.

After the funeral, and burial, friends drifted apart, lovers became enemies, and the group was never the same for it. I stayed with Devon at his house for a while afterwards. I didn't cry for Natalie, nor did I cry for any number of other friends and family I've lost. But when I was cleaning the TV room, with the smell of coffee thick in the air, and I picked up the empty bag of Chewy Chips Ahoy...the fact she was gone, really and truly gone forever, hit me. I fell onto the couch, threw the bag across the room, and cradled my head in my hands. Tears welling in my eyes, I muttered to myself for a few minutes. When I finally collected myself, and I left the room, I tossed the empty cookie bag in the garbage.

It was then that I saw the one Chewy Chips Ahoy cookie left on the coffee table, where I had put it after Natalie refused it.

I left it there. I don't know who eventually ate it, or threw it away. But I didn't touch it. I couldn't. I never would have thought that I was telling the truth when I said I'd be hurt forever if she didn't eat the cookie.