Last night I went to a reading of The Opposite of Loneliness. Do you know Marina Keegan? A Yale graduate who died in a car crash two weeks after she walked the commencement stage, in 2012, 22 years-old, a job at The New Yorker waiting for her and her boyfriend in the driving seat, whose parents assembled her work posthumously.
Her high school English teacher read. Her college best friend read. The girl she grew up with read. A boy she met sailing at ten years old, and the au pair she had at five years old -- they read, too.
Her mother, sparkly eyes and a smile that dropped just the other side of okay when you weren’t looking, told stories of her attitude and her aspirations. Her sass and her hopes. Her car. Her love. Her life. Her father, fondness on his face, missing her in his ever-moving hands, as if he were trying to grapple, hold on, to something nobody else could see, said he cried when he read the pieces on memories they’d made together. He laughed as he remembered her belligerence out loud. Her politics. Her questions.
Marina Keegan was in that room with us last night. She was in the hearts of every single body in attendance. Her energy was palpable.
Shit, I thought. I can’t imagine what mum and dad would be like if they were ever – touch wood, God forbid – hurtled into such circumstance. My eyes pooled at the consideration, heart skipped double-quick time. Maybe it’s true what they say about death being mostly about the living.