Why did you go just when I needed something to believe in? When I needed to look out there and know that magic existed? When I needed to listen to music and have the words mean something, have them guide me towards decisions I found too difficult to make on my own?
Now I keep my eyes averted, looking at nothing, and for the first time in my life music no longer speaks to me. My iPod – once a source of comfort – lies unused and useless and I can barely pick it up without a shudder.
It’s like you timed it perfectly – I was searching desperately for inspiration and you upped went away. You were my source. It was you who first made me shake with the sheer power of your words, break out in gooseflesh at a mere tremor of your voice. It was you who surprised me with my own tears, and taught me that perfection could cause me to cry. It was you who first filled me with longing, before I was old enough to know to call it desire. It was you who made me realize that magic wasn’t just for children, it was you who taught me that it was ok not to grow up completely. It was all you. And now you’re gone.
And I’m writing again. Is this your final gift to me? Because I hate it. I hate that you’ve given me inspiration in this awful, awful way. I would have been happy never to write again, just to have you here. Existing. Just to know that you were out there, somewhere – a magical, pure force of energy and light and love. More than skin colour. More than sex. More than sexuality. More than race. More than age. More than human. Better.
Why did you go when you knew you couldn’t leave without taking pieces of me with you? Now I don’t know what to do. I’m walking around, incomplete and unable to explain why. I feel like my memories have holes in them, like photographs with the faces cut out. I had forgotten just how much a part of me you were – but now it’s all coming back in waves and instead of making me smile, the memories make my heart bleed. I feel cheated now, as if somehow I never had a right to make you such a part of me, that it was silly and I should just be sad for a little while, shrug and then move on.
I can’t. I’m stuck here, not wanting to know how you went, or what you were doing when it happened or who was there or what was done. I don’t want to go there, I don’t want to deal with it. I just want you here. Not with me – just, around. Inspiring people, because that’s what you do. That’s what you’ve made a life out of, what you’ve always done best. So this is not just me being selfish, wanting you to myself. Millions depended on you for this exact same feeling. You knew that. You must have known. Why did you go?
You have never literally been in my life. Your absence shouldn’t make so much of a difference. But it does. My life, which has been pretty hard to bear these past few months, is now suddenly harder somehow, because of this. It’s hard to keep remembering that it’s happened and can never be undone. The realization never sticks. So when it hits every now and then – temporary as always – it’s a shock, every time. And every time, it just gets harder to digest. Wipes just a little more of the colour from the sky, makes it a little harder to smile, takes a little more effort to get out of bed in the morning.
Who knew one person’s mere existence could make the world a nicer place to live in? And that his loss would devastate millions who had never even met him? If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. Still, this is not what I appreciate now. “Think about the good things” people tell me, but I only feel bitter. I hear stories of tributes, of stores selling out of CDs, I hear the radio is playing him non-stop but it’s bloody well too little too late. All I’d been hearing before this all happened were sick jokes and ridicule. Worse, I’m still hearing sick jokes and ridicule. I don’t know what I’m angry about exactly. But I’m angry.
Why did you go? I needed you. No, to hell with past tense, I need you. I’m trying not to be so angry anymore – about many things – and I need you for that. I need your celebration of joy, I need your absolute wonder of nature and life. Life was everything to you. You were so afraid of dying. So, so afraid. I’m so sorry it all turned out like this.
People tell me you will live on through your music. And I’m trying to believe that, but somehow it’s no comfort. Knowing what I know. Feeling how I feel. Alone with 14 years worth of memories, all entangled with you. I can’t imagine how I will possibly get used to having you gone. Looking at your picture or hearing your songs without feeling that stab of utter disbelief that this has happened. It was so out of the blue.
I don’t know how to end this. So I won’t try. I’ll just leave it there and hope that I’ll be able to feel better soon and not hate myself for it. I don’t ever want to feel better about you being gone. But I don’t want to be this sad either.
I will never find the answer to the questions I’ve asked here. But I needed to put them out anyway. If this is you, running through my veins, out my fast-moving fingers and onto the screen…if this is you. Then thank you.