Saturday, June 08, 2013

Stations of the Breath - Part Four

Continued from parts One and Two and Three.

Before Antonella's story, another perspective of Zoe. Antonella won't mind.

I received a long Facebook message from a woman who was a brown-eyed, curly-haired music major back in the day. I responded with If you give me permission, I'll quote you. I won't do it without your OK - and I know it sounds weird - but there is a larger point at the end of the piece that's being expanded by what people are telling me.

She gave me permission with one proviso; Don't call me Donna. I hate that name. 

She can be Madeline, then. I was surprised to hear from her in the same way that I hadn't expected to hear from Lloyd. They both arrive in this narrative later, their presence an indelible fact that had almost fallen away until meeting Kelly and finding it all brought into the foreground, again.

What Madeline remembers:

I didn't go to Zoe's funeral, 'cause at the time her parents said it was family-only (until they finally realized how many people wanted to be there and opened it up). I freaked out and locked myself at home for a couple of days, refusing to answer the phone... I have no recollection. I had spent a lot of time with Zoe in New York where Zoe expressed the desire to kill herself and of course l tried to talk her out of it and reassure her that she was loved, etc...and it seemed that was fine. Only it wasn't. Zoe's death affected me deeply, and I don't think I every really understood it.

I never knew this; it's one hell of a thing for Madeline to have carried when she was sixteen. I remember that she looked sad and shaken, not more than others but in a quieter way, something chilling and mournful. This might be my imagination, though; not her feelings, my memory of same. I certainly wasn't keeping tabs on anybody, not consciously. Responses ranged from tears to anger, there wasn't anything that could be called appropriate in that situation and god knows what I looked like to the outside world.

I told Madeline A lot of people are offering me pieces of this story, some things don't fade.

She countered with It does fade, details are patchy.

Both statements are true. Time's funny that way. You can marvel or shrink in horror at the clarity of what remains.

Now, Antonella. Who told me the most terrifying thing I could have heard when I asked if I could write about her part in this story, or more precisely, how I dealt with the story. She said I trust you. Her history is separate from Zoe's, entirely. The only person for whom the stories tie together, a year and a half later, is me.

Things ended better for Antonella, but something dark in her lingered for the longest time. I can't know that it's gone forever; let's call it exorcised for the time being. Winston Churchill's description of depression as a black dog is overused, but it's Antonella's choice of phrase and it still comes up from time to time in an email or Facebook missive. She'll say something like the Black dog's been around, but not too close recently. That's good. It's always a relief to me to hear that from her.

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