Some time ago, I wrote an entry about the cruelest thing I ever did to someone else. I don't know if I can fully convey the childish stupidity that led up to it, or the hideous guilt and shame I've carried for thirty years for having done it.
I got into a turf war over Hopkins with his other close friend, a boy named Doy. If I'm going to tell this truly, I'm also going to give up the pretense of "Hopkins"...everybody who knows me is well aware that his name is Chris. It doesn't seem right to write this without using both of their names.
Doy died on April Fools' Day at the age of forty-eight, having had his birthday in March. That's far too damn young. I don't know the circumstances, but I'm deeply disturbed by it. It feels unreal and unfair.
I'm tempted to say that I hope he forgave me, but...that seems weak. I must carry this sin, mindfully, forever, because I have to let it inform me in moments when that cruelty could leap out and assault some other innocent person.
It was jealousy, plain and simple. Chris and Doy had bumped along as best friends for a dog's age and then lo and behold, here was this *stupid girl* driving a wedge between them. He took his shot at me, and I delivered the most perfect, complete coup de grace to end it. (Never push a Southern girl to this point, because trust me, you will regret it in ways that you never imagined.)
I'm not wide of the mark when I say that this particular moment is why Chris has not and will not ever become romantically involved with me. One cruel 'gift' of a high intellect is an excellent memory; he saw that lacerating bitch and she scared him to death...as well it should.
It dawned on me last night that I was not the only one who probably got a "Hail and Farewell" speech from Chris when they graduated. Doy had received a decent scholarship to Western Kentucky University, while Chris swanned off up East to Baltimore and Johns Hopkins. We were proud of him, mind you, but it hadn't occurred to either of us that he would turn his back and walk away. The words that have rung in my ears for thirty years were: "There is nothing and no one in Green County worth remembering."
That statement included me, and it also included Doy.
I hope that whatever life Doy had after Western, that it was a happy one, or at least one that included some moments of happiness, or contentment. He was a gifted mathematician, a decent person with a kind nature, and he was too young to die.