About three years ago, I happened across an obituary article in the Gainesville Sun. The girl who died was in her early 20s, a music student. She lived in a neighborhood close to where I lived and within a block of where my aunt Melissa lives. Her only surviving family members were three brothers and a mother who all lived in Italy. There was no indication of how she died, and so I thought it was fairly likely that it was a suicide.
The article included a picture, which showed her as a very pretty young lady with dark cropped hair. She had the cow-eyed tragedy of an Isabella Rosellini about her. I recall that I showed the article to E, with whom I was living at the time. E reached out and touched the picture as if to stroke the girl’s cheek and said, “Life is such a mystery.”
I was struck by the fact that this tragedy, whatever its details, struck someone I didn’t know, but that I could have easily met her at some point either through some musical event, or just walking down the street. Furthermore, I felt as if I wished I’d known her, and the fact that I hadn’t known her added to the tragic sense.