WHEN SILENCE FAILS
It is almost exactly ten years since we shared drunken kisses in an unheated bar in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Later that night, drunker still, a kiss broke into laughter when we rolled off my bed and fell to the floor.
Ten years later: you still in Tennessee, in Nashville, me in Phoenix, Arizona. A catch-up conversation: You told me about your kidney transplants, addiction to pain medication, recovery, getting engaged, breaking it off, buying a house, rescuing dogs, travelling, getting happy. “I learned a lot and am so not afraid of things. It’s pretty great!” you wrote. You said your health was the best it had ever been, and we laughed about the new series of Beavis and Butt-Head. You had just found a new boyfriend: “I am absolutely nuts about him.” Seventeen days later, you died in your sleep, forty-six days past your thirty-seventh birthday.
Writing to someone who will never read it — a worn-out poetic convention, still in use only because of its necessity. Elegies, like funerals, are survival tools for the living. I write these words of love, beautiful Danielle, because silence fails me.