Dead friends: Ode to a song no one knows

Evergreen Review May 2021

This is how it happens now: you’re sitting at your desk or scrolling through your phone on the train or the toilet and something about the sincerity of a caption or the vintage of a photo makes you slow down. Could it be? The posts multiply. Soon enough there is a telltale “RIP.” But the sheer volume of images and the raw sincerity is how you first know.

He died. She died. They’re dead.

So begins the unseemly calculus of time off work, travel costs, days on the calendar, forcing you to put a yes/no value on how much a person meant to you. And so too begins the investigation, the sifting through the outpouring, seeking some sliver of information about how it happened. If you want to break the spell, you’ll call somebody. But it’s easier to keep thumbing through the photos, the stories, the reminders of who they stood next to.

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