I've had a migraine since I got back. It started in the taxi line & I tried to pretend it would go away. By last night I was nearly gagging in pain. Nothing I threw in its way stopped the momentum of the pain. Working from home today. The doctor was a disappointment (not as dire as that last cup of gumbo), but really, how much can anyone do? I started crying about Jesse in her office, and she started crying too. It made me feel better for some reason, not that she cried, but my crying. That is, it's kind of a relief when the other person cries, because it makes me feel like they get it, but at the same time, it's upsetting to hurt another person with the painful facts of my existence. But yeah, the migraine got a little better. Better enough that when I stepped out of her office I realized I was pretty close to Fordham, where Jesse had just started law school the fall before he died. I'd left a pair of sunglasses there in October, when I first talked to the development dept about Jesse's Fund. She's saved them for me this whole time. I pushed myself the few blocks, prisoner of my own will to move forward. feeling what he must have felt there: this wasn't what he had in mind, but it had its well-tended beauty. A row of white birches on an emerald lawn, broken by a gate. It felt safe, and clean and serious, like college campuses do. By the gate above a grating set in the grass stood a thin column of steam, about five feet high, writhing in place like a tethered spirit.
What happened to him? How could this have happened? How do you get some rare blood disease nobody gets and what did I do wrong? How could I have thrown myself in front of that trackless and invisible, that soundless speeding train? When will it take something else from me that I can't bear to lose?
I ran into one of his classmates on my way out. Amanda. Just barely recognized her, and she me. "Do you know Jesse... did you know Jesse Smith?" and the light went on in her eyes and we talked. She told me the dean's speech at commencement had been mostly about Jesse. I wish I'd been there, but it's probably best for me that I wasn't. How much, exactly do I allow me to torture myself. Listen: that's a bigger part of life than you think.