I travelled to columbia, South Carolina with seven friends to stroke the hair of the cold body of what used to be one of my greatest friends.
it looked a little like her, but it wasn't smiling, something Helen did readily and often. when I die, I'm going to leave specific instructions to the mortician to try to make me smile a bit for my friends. even a little smirk would do.
I loved Helen. and here I am after midnight in a kinkos assembling a memorial 'zine for everyone to have at the funeral tomorrow.
the only time I can think of that I felt nearly so bad was when I went to my girlfriend's funeral in New York. I still wear the scars of that, but probably because she killed herself.
this pain is different. we weren't lovers (Paul was the love of her life) but Helen and I bonded more deeply than I have with any lover. She would always find ways to cheer me when I was down. She gave me inspiration to push myself and my artwork beyond where I thought I could go. She accepted my quirks unconditionally (as long as I never tried to get her to eat meat.) she sent postcards out of the blue with a happy note or an odd philosophical question on the back.
She was so much more to me and to so many others as well. Her murder has left a raw wound on my soul that I don't know will ever heal.
Paul must feel as if his life has been torn away from him. His right hand may never work well again. His son is motherless. The city that he was wary of returning to has killed his soulmate.
I'll fly home to LA on thursday to an empty house and try hard to remember how to eat and sleep.
it won't come easily.