Wednesday, September 07, 2005


A couple of weeks ago, I got to see an old friend from LA on his way through town. It's not a particularly long story how I know him (though in some ways, I suppose, it is) but not one I feel like telling. Suffice it to say, he was there for me when I really needed a friend, as were a handful of other people (John D., if you're out there, hi). So we spent the first part of the evening with my getting caught up on people I used to know who he still knows.

I found out that this precious kid named Justin who, though only 20 when I met him, was something of a big brother to me, is doing well, and that made me immensely happy. He's someone you want to be well, and happy, and it sounds as though he is. John's getting married. Others hadn't fared quite as well, or had drifted away, and then I asked him about this teenage girl whose name I couldn't quite remember.

The conversation went something like this:
Me: What about that little girl?
Him: Which one?
Me: The one who looked like Natalie Portman. Who dyed her hair pink.
Him: Ohhh... right. I can't remember her name. She's dead.

We called John. He reminded us that her name was Genevieve. Actually, he had another nickname for her. I'll leave it out.

Genevieve, seventeen when I met her, was full of confidence and laughter at a time when she probably should have had neither. And I can't explain it, even to myself, but I felt some connection to Genevieve. Perhaps a desire to be more like her at a time when I was shaken and lost, searching and not finding. And that pink hair... just something about her struck me. She made an impact.

And a year later, after I'd left LA behind for South Florida, Genevieve, at 18, had overdosed and died.

The news made an impact.

All night, I kept saying, "I can't believe Genevieve is dead."

My friend apologized for the blunt delivery of the news. But she'd been dead four years in his world; only that moment in mine.

I don't know anything about Genevieve except what I've told you. I know nothing of her family, her background, her history -- any of her stories. I just have these little snapshots of her: at Swingers sitting at an outside table, looking so small; tossing that pink hair outside a house in Santa Monica; sitting on the ground in Hollywood with her blonde friend, waiting, picking at her nail polish. But always smiling.


Blogger Brett said...

Good story. Haunting. Now I'm haunted. Thanks.

10:35 AM  

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