2008-05-02 @ 12:38 a.m.
Wednesday, April 30th. I'll remember this day for the rest of my life as the day that I first really had to deal with death.
My alarm was set for 11:30, so that I could get up for my 12:20 Iconography of Greek Myth class. I woke up about three minutes before the alarm went off, to the noise of Leslie Kline misinforming Erika van Gundy as to the case of William Jacobson (according to her, he was a big beefy guy who was leaving some sort of formal), and although it made me mad, I closed my eyes for the remaining two minutes or so, only to press snooze when that alarm finally went off.
At around 11:33, before the snooze alarm tried to get me up for the second time, Restricted calls. Julie. Oh shit. I pick up. "Hey," I said. "They found him. They found his body." And with those words, Julie conveyed what we had all known from the beginning, but didn't want to believe. I had a feeling that when Willie was found, if he was found, it wouldn't be good; Julie's words confirmed that.
We wondered if Elana knew. We knew she had class and probably hadn't gotten news of it yet, as the statement was released at 11. We met at my building. I called Elana. I got dressed, and Julie and I walked to central campus. I turned in my College Scholars application. I texted Elana. She called me.
We were going to meet Elana at Rockefeller, so that she could tell her lesbian lit teacher that she wouldn't be able to go to class. We get there, and we get another call from Elana. She wasn't going to Rockefeller. She just wanted to finish her College Scholars essay. We meet her on our way to Olin. She says she needs to go back to her room. She's on the verge of tears, sometimes. Julie and I sit in Goldwin Smith, talking about how, despite the fact that we didn't really know him, we were really sad.
Later, Julie and I went with Elana to IC. Sad. We met Shane at the bus stop, and I've never seen two people hug so hard. I've never seen two people so happy to see each other. We walked and Shane shook, not from sadness but from the cold (he's a very thin boy), and the three of us girls giggled because, while we were waiting for the bus, Julie mentioned how stupid it was for people to dress their pets, but I defended the statement by bringing up the fact that my grandmother's chihuahua couldn't go outside during Miami winters if it weren't for the doggy sweater my granny puts on it. Shane trembled like my grandmother's chihuahua.
We sat and then we sat inside of a room with all of Willie's friends from IC. It was quiet. It was sad. Julie and I left shortly after.
When we arrived at Cornell, after Julie took care of some business, we walked and took down Willie fliers. I went to my room and tried to study. I couldn't. I tried to sleep. I couldn't. I took a shower. I cried. At around 10 pm I called Julie. We met at RPC. We talked, in a stairwell, about how we were devastated by his death but couldn't tell Elana because the fact that we didn't know him as well as she did might have come off as a cheapening of his memory. We reminisced about our few memories of him, at the CTB in the Commons and how he later caught the bus. His large head and his Raybans. His knowledge of Fear and Loathing and how he talked about his future plans. Funny, Willie would have been getting ready to go visit Shane in NY now. He talked about this weekend vacation then. Fate has a sick sense of humor. Julie and I reminisced about the time when we went to go retrieve her lost cell phone on the day after my birthday, how we saw Elana and Willie in the Korean Chinese food place and how we didn't go in because we thought the kids they were sitting near were Willie's friends. We thought it would have been awkward. Fuck awkward. We regret that so much.
The next morning I was better, I took my last Psychology of Language prelim and went to my room and slept. I retaliated to an email an RA wrote that used Willie as an example of the dangers of drinking. Julie and I went to the mall and later met Elana for dinner.
Elana and I watched The Office after and she asked me if I would go to a house with her, the house where the IC kids were together. I went. We sat and they played music, acoustic guitars, musical saws, and they played tributes to Willie. The Hold Steady and Neutral Milk Hotel. When they played "King of Carrot Flowers" everyone joined in. Everyone. Everyone sang together to remember Willie. When they played The Flaming Lips' "Do you realize?" the lights went out and a candle was lit. People sat, contemplated, sang. It was magical. Shane broke down at the end.
Then we went to the house where IC was allowing Willie's mom, uncle and brother, and Shane to stay. We talked. Elana and Shane and Lauren remembered old, happy times with Willie. I listened. We caught a cab and now I'm here.
Willie Jacobson, although I didn't know you very well, your death hit me hard. I just cried again. This is an incredibly adult issue, and little kids are dealing with it. You were too young to go. I think about all the things you said you wanted to do, how you were going to be a Creative Writing major, the classes you were planning to take next semester, your summer plans, your plans for visiting Shane. I want to believe in God because I want you to be somewhere safe. I just can't conceive of a world where someone can literally stop existing in an instant. That existence has to go somewhere. I hope it does.
Willie Jacobson, this is for you.
RIP, William Jacobson, Sept 11, 1988 to April 27, 2008. Just 19.
everything © Claudia (2003-2008)