Creatrixsblood's Weblog


Hindsight can really mess with a person
December 8, 2014, 1:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today the news reported that the body of an old friend of mine was found in a storage unit. Police arrested her husband for second degree murder. This essay is for both her and myself. Kelsey, (you’ll always be Ro to me), I’m sorry I was blind.

The first time I met her, she was the new girl in my high school art class. I saw a girl sitting alone. I knew what it was like to be the girl sitting alone, so I suggested that my friend and I sit with her. She said to call her Ro (a shortening of her last name) because she hated that so many other girls were named Kelsey. Later, she admitted that she wasn’t sure what to think of me at first; I was in the habit of always wearing baggy black band t-shirts and what other kids described as a black “smoking jacket” because of the two front pockets while she usually opted for more fashion-forward clothing.

elvis

Ro brought Elvis to senior prom.

We grew closer through sharing our art with each other and providing both support and competition. At my dad’s house, in my old room, there is still a pencil sketch by her that is both a mountain range and a group of monks huddled in their robes. We often talked on the phone for hours, venting about our broken families and divulging our teenage exploits. She was the only peer I trusted to take flattering pictures.

After high school, she spent a year or so nannying in both Connecticut and Montana. I heard from her almost every night by telephone and was often jealous of her bravery. She moved back to Nebraska the following summer, and I slept over so often that I practically lived in her apartment. One of the highlights was painting a giant canvas with our friend Kelly, then painting each other, and then visiting Walmart to be gawked at.

She moved to Cater Lake a bit after school started again and often hung out at the dormitories with myself and my friends. She was magnetic. I watched her draw in all sorts of people and befriend them. She was always the life, and often the hostess of the party.

November 2005, Myself (left) and Ro (right)

November 2005, Myself (left) and Ro (right)

I missed her when she moved to Lincoln, but we kept in touch by phone. She told me about meeting Mike (he went by his middle name) not long after the move. She said that he was hitting on her, but she wasn’t so sure about him. He was persistent though, and eventually she decided she would date him despite his questionable past. I’m not sure how long they were dating before they moved in together, but they were already living together when I first managed to visit her. She told me about plans regain custody of his daughter despite his stint in prison, and about how she was glad to help him get his life back together. Around the same time, she told me that he had a history of being abusive but it was okay because she knew “what makes Mr. Happy turn into Mr. Fist.”

I said nothing. The conversation didn’t go any further in that direction. I want to excuse myself, to say that I trusted her to handle herself, but the truth is I simply didn’t want to cause conflict. I should have said something after that… asked more questions… She had given me an opening, and I just put on a blindfold and shrugged it off.

When she and Mike were engaged, she initially asked me to be a bride’s maid. However, as the date approached, she told me that she was choosing an older friend who didn’t like me to be a bridesmaid instead. I didn’t even receive an invitation. A bit bitter, I allowed space to grow between us. However, when we did talk, she said things like, “I’m becoming domestic and the scary part is I kinda like it!”

I visited once after she and Mike moved into their house. We went shopping at a cute little bohemian place, and I recorded some terrible footage of a tea party rally for a digital media class project. I remember Mike sitting in the recliner. He didn’t acknowledge my presence. I didn’t think much of it, gave her hugs, and went on my merry way. That was the last time I saw her. It must have been 6 years ago.

We talked a bit after that, but I became pretty wrapped up in my own life drama for several years during which I hardly spoke to any of my friends who weren’t within Omaha city limits. When we did talk on the phone, I was Miss Doom and Gloom. It was probably 3 years ago the last time we spoke and I don’t remember once asking about her.

The first tattoo she got was Latin script reading: “Femina Potens,” meaning powerful woman. It suited her well. Today, I’m reflecting on what it means to be a powerful woman, and how I’ve come up short, especially in regards to my friendship with Ro. A powerful woman would have been more attentive, more protective, and more forgiving.

I think my first tattoo might be a latin phrase too. I’m thinking “manere curiosus” which is Latin for stay curious. Curiosus also means attentive, and careful in addition to inquisitive. It should serve to remind me to be more present so that my hindsight doesn’t bother me as much in the future.

My best wishes to Kelsey’s family and friends in this dark time

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