A friend of mine disappeared. I mean, left with only the clothes on his back. Borrowed clothes, at that. He left his phone. His wallet. Everything. And he just went away.

Several days passed. Then weeks. Months. Nothing. No word. A friend of ours traveled on foot, looking for him. Others pressed the police. The media. Anyone. To pay attention.

We’d have to wait for the snow to melt. Then he might be found. That’s what they were told.

The snow melted. Heavy rain fell. The city flooded.

A week later someone found him. Sixty miles or so away. His body had traveled all that way. In the river.

Too many details muddy my mind. I don’t want to think about the way they found him. How I was told he looked. That his own father couldn’t identify him.

His death. Announced on the six o’clock news. His Facebook account. Posts deleted until the day before he vanished. Went missing. Even his last two posts deleted. His cries out to us. Cries that most of us didn’t even hear. See. Know.

I’ll die and no one will care.  He’d said. No one will come to my funeral.

His ashes spread. A few friends gathered for a quiet memorial. Invitation only.

I couldn’t go.

I tried to honor him by listening to a few songs he liked. By reading his poems. Looking through our messages about religion and art and literature.
But I didn’t get to say good-bye. Haven’t been able to mourn.

Somewhere. Maybe in my heart. Or soul. I don’t really believe he’s gone. I know he is. But I am having a hard time accepting it.

I see a tall guy with black hair. Smoking outside a coffee shop. Walking down the sidewalk with a hood up. I think it might be him until I remember. No. It isn’t him. He’s gone. Dead. Found floating.

I get sick to my stomach.

Wish that I could go back to thinking that he left. Started over. Got himself over to Japan. Reached his dream. With headphones on his ears and new poetry streaming from his mouth.

And. And I wish he knew. I wish he knew that he was loved.

That he knew how broken my heart is.

And how I can’t cry. As much as I want to. I can’t.

And I don’t understand it.

A friend of mine disappeared. He died. And I don’t know how to grieve.

I can’t figure out how to mourn a death I can’t realize.

A death I don’t understand.


Today’s guest post was written by Susie Finkbeiner.  Susie is a novelist and short story writer from West Michigan. Her first novel “Paint Chips” released in 2013 and she is currently working on her second novel and a collection of short stories. When Susie isn’t writing, she is busy as the fiction editor for Burnside Writers Collective as well as Unbound Magazine. Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with good friends, and quiet moments to read and write. Website:www.susiefinkbeiner.com

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