A Splinter of Love

Are grief and mourning the most precious proofs of love?

Mark Matousek

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The night she died, my friend Lucy left a message on my answering machine, to thank me for being such a good friend and to tell me how much she loved me. The message made me furious. She was stoned again, I could tell from her voice—less than three weeks out of detox—and I couldn’t take it anymore, the ongoing crisis, the ongoing need to remain undone, self-destructive, bleak, ironic, too intelligent for her own good. Not wanting to explode at Lucy, I waited to call her back in the morning—we’d talk when we were in our right minds. I erased the message, not knowing that this was the last time I would hear her voice, the last chance I’d have to say goodbye.

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