And thus, an argument would begin. I know to the casual observer, it looked like a brawl. But if you looked carefully, you would see it was actually a pas de deux, carefully choreographed with dramatic gestures and mimed feints. Each always knew to reach out before the other could fall. I miss those arguments, already.
The Kübler-Ross stages of grieving have been criticized for being inaccurate or incomplete.1 Contrarily, I am always struck by how much they seem to capture. When I received the news, I was in denial, which allowed me to turn around an obituary for publication in about an hour; it was almost like writing a work of fiction. When I learned the identity of the perpetrator, I experienced anger in a way I will not describe in these pages. I found deal-making has been part of my coping mechanism; from time to time over the past few days, I have found myself wondering when she would be back from her annual vacation with her family. And finally, depression. Just from a scientific standpoint, I’ve found it fascinating that I can be perfectly functional one minute and burst into tears the next.
I’m surprised to say The Boss got me through the first 24 hours. I learned of my friend’s death the same day Netflix posted its recording of Springsteen on Broadway. Unlike virtually everyone else who grew up on Long Island in my generation, I was not an overt fan of Bruce Springsteen. That said, he was pervasive, woven into the fabric of my childhood summers, more than I had even realized until that moment. The familiar music was like a cat, purring on my lap. I let the video play, twice, on low, as I took turns comforting and being comforted by my colleagues and friends.