Yesterday afternoon I started feeling despondent and overwhelmingly sad all over again. A visceral feeling of loss shook me from the inside out. The incredulity and horror of what has happened reawakened, I wondered around myself for a while, then I went to Andrew’s room and pulled down the white box with his effects from the shelf in his closet.
Untying the string around the box, I thought about the morning when our friend David, Zack’s father, had driven us to the meeting at NYU’s Kimmel Building.
Somewhere up on a high floor of Kimmel, the same building where we had watched Florentina receive numerous graduation awards, we met with two NYPD officers and NYU’s head of security and his assistant.
Shaken and queasy, I watched as one of the Detectives handed over each of the items of clothing that Andrew had been wearing when he died. The jeans, the rugby shirt, the red Nautica sweatshirt, his black gym-everything-shoes. His beloved signet ring and Waterman pen.
Feeling nauseous and faint, I put my head down on the desk in front of me.
“The only other item, is the money that was in his pocket,” I heard the detective say. “Any cash found on a victim, we deposit into a special account. You’ll have to go to surrogate court, then come to the precinct and we’ll give you a check.”
I wanted to scream. Why couldn’t Andrew’s money have been left in his wallet?
We haven’t gone through the process to collect it yet, but we must! Andrew worked for his money. Even though he was at college studying difficult subjects such as Mandarin, he had a job and worked hard for his money. He didn’t come to Mummy and Daddy for money for books, or everyday expenses. I know he would have wanted his little brother, Robert, to have the $40 that was in his wallet.
After a moment or two, I managed to undo the knots, carefully removing the string, I stared at the white box with Eileen Fisher printed in black. Eileen had brought me some of her lovely scarves, wrapped in white, crisp, tissue paper, held together with a simple brooch inside that box. Eileen’s son, Zack, had been one of Andrew’s best friends and Eileen herself loved Andrew, and Andrew loved Eileen. That is why I used that box for Andrew’s “effects.”
One by one I took his clothes out, examined them, smelled them and cried, cried, cried.
After putting everything back, I marched into the kitchen.
“You can get a big bag of kettle corn from Trader Joe’s for $2,” I remembered Andrew telling me, as I dove into the pantry drawer and got myself a large bag of kettle corn.
After fumbling for a while, I got a pair of scissors and cut the darned bag opened. As if my life depended on it, I crammed handful after handful of corn in my mouth, until I almost choked. I slowed down a bit, took a swig of water and then went back to finish the job. I only stopped when there were only crumbs left, my black sweater was covered in white powdery salt and sugar, and I felt sick and disgusted.
When I finally stomped into bed, telling myself that my son was dead, I wondered why on earth I should organize a Fair for suicide awareness and prevention. Why not leave it to others who have more to lose than I?
Why not? What the fuck do I owe any body? Fuck all, that’s what!