In college a guy I worked with at the campus dining hall died. He fell from a four-story balcony one Saturday night, someone found him the next day. His death sticks with me still because I saw him the night before he died at a party, we greeted each other, and that was it. I didn’t see him again that night.
I wrote a poem about it after it happened, and like most of my poems from college it just got filed away and forgotten. A few months ago I turned the poem into an essay and gave it to my writing group, I found a few articles from the Bellingham Herald to make sure I was getting the facts right. The articles were very short, just another local death.
Tuesday I started a rewrite, I needed something to turn into my group again, so I went online to find those articles. But this time I found a new one, published from my college newspaper, dated a few weeks after his death; the medical examiner had ruled it a suicide.
I actually kept clippings from the campus newspaper about his death, but I never saw this story. Of course he could have jumped, but everyone who knew him wouldn’t believe it. And in the article no one does. But these years later I’m less convinced, after all I didn’t really know him. So I go back to that night at the party again and again, I see him there standing alone, and I try to remember what he said to me.