I went to the wake. I didn't know most of the people there; they weren't my friends. I noted that Danny's very pretty older sister looked puffy-faced from crying, and wondered what it was like to be that sad. I thought I should feel sad, too, but I mostly felt bewildered. Danny didn't exist any more, at least in my world. Not that he had been part of my life in any real sense for a couple of years, but still. I'd never again see him swagger across the school courtyard, cigarette in hand, and wonder Why did I think he was cute? It was weird.
I'm not sure I ever cried for Danny. I certainly thought I ought to have, and secretly wondered if there was something wrong with me. But I was at an age where friendships came and went. I remember more about the facts of Danny's death more than I recall of Danny himself.
* * * * *
I was awake much of the night last night thinking about the tragedy of Dancer's friend and her family. I spent many hours chatting in ballet studios with Lisa, the mom. Isabel, the daughter, was a friendly, sensible kid with a huge amount of energy. She loved trapeze even more than ballet, and had her birthday and Bat Mitzvah parties at a trapeze school. The invitations always came with permission slips.
Dancer had sleepovers at Isabel's, and Isabel was one of the few friends who managed to snag a sleepover here, during one of Big Guy's more stable periods. She needed a sleep mask at night and had forgotten hers, and her dad drove all the way up here to bring it to her at 10pm. I am not that kind of parent; I would have said, "Figure out a solution!" But I appreciated the generosity of the father, who did not begrudge his daughter his time, even if was spent as a delivery boy.
The story in the paper has some details wrong: Lisa hated to cook, and Isabel left ballet a year ago. But they were good people, and it is hard to grasp that they will not be part of our lives any more. Isn't it odd that permanence is a hard thing to grasp?