it’s funny how you remember the instant you learn about someone’s death in much greater detail than you remember anything about the time you spent with them when they were alive.
it’s been four years since i learned about alan’s death. oddly enough i still remember what i was wearing when i walked into my parents’ house. i remember laughing just minutes before and screaming along with the replacement’s “i’ll be you.” i remember walking into the house to find my sister tracy hysterical, crying on the couch.
“al’s dead,” she shouted.
“al who?” i wasn’t comprehending.
“alan frechette, our cousin,” she cried.
that’s when the world began to spin and i could feel all the blood drain from my head. i walked over to the gas station across the street. i was supposed to work in all of 20 minutes. i was shaking and barefoot. i broke down sobbing in the middle of a gas station.
but it’s been four years now. four years since alan died. four years today since i got the news. he’d be 23 now, probably graduated from college. maybe even married. i still miss him a lot. when you come from a family of all girls, you sorta latch onto those cousins who are closest. he was the only thing i had like a brother.
and they played tom petty’s “free falling” at the graveside ceremony. a song that i cannot listen to still, without it turning my stomach. i remember standing there, in the late august son. listening to everyone cry and that song coming from someplace. blech.
i don’t know who chose that song. i thought it a bit tacky, considering the circumstances that lead to al’s death. al was working construction and the “cherry picker” (those giant crane things they use to work on bridges) toppled.
ohhh, this is too depressing. anniversaries always get to me. i am haunted on this one day of the year. haunted by him and his smile and the memories.