I wanted to write last weekend after I found out about the space shuttle breaking up. I just didn't know how to put any thoughts in words. I called my friend to see if she was ok. She was. She said her husband heard the sound. But I kept thinking that it's only God's grace that made her ok. Pieces of the shuttle don't plan out their landing point as they fall. I don't even want to think about what some of those pieces were. Ugh!
The shuttle event made me think again of the World Trade Center. I started to write about that the day that it happened. I had intended to write a book and intersperse my thoughts about political events with descriptions of "normal" life as a blind person in America. I thought it might be unique. But everyone had a WTC story. What's so special about mine? The market got saturated. People are probably sick of reading WTC tributes--and it isn't current anymore. Still, I don't have anything to lose by writing...
I heard from a former classmate today. She told me that another former classmate had died. Actually, I saw it on her web site, but I only knew her first name. Today in her email, Angela told me who it was and that she committed suicide. I was shocked. What would she have had to be so miserable about? Of course, I remember her as a child; and I know nothing about what happened to her after high school.
In sixth grade we met and I thought we might become friends. In seventh grade, I seemed to be an embarrassment to her. When I was in school, blind students weren't expected to be truly independent. By the time independence was expected of me, I was used to being led around by classmates. I got used to doing things for myself by the time I was a junior in high school; but it was very different in seventh grade. Classmates were assigned to take me through the lunch line. I hated it as much as they did--mostly because to them it was a chore and everyone knew it. Anyway, she would barely touch my sleeve as she hauled me up and down the lunch line... "Anyone wanna take her?" she would ask. Who was an embarrassment to whom? I think at that point I was an embarrassment to myself, and that is an experience I will never forget. I think it also hurt because the people who were my friends previously now resented being saddled with the task of making sure I got safely through the lunch line. Of course, the friendships crumbled. Maybe they would have anyway, but I don't suppose my dependency helped; and I'm embarrassed to say so. It makes me feel like I should have insisted on doing things myself so that they wouldn't have had the burden.
But I am alive and she is not. She had money, friends, intelligence, health... What more can a person want? But I am alive and she is not. And she hasn't been since 1998. In 1998 I was losing my vision, getting a divorce, living in a place where I had no job and no friends... But I am here and she is not. I know it was her choice. But why?