Three girls downed (every year, according to my mother, this was as common as a cold), every summer at Brighton Beach. They walked in with their full clothing and headscarves on and drowned, because most brown people don’t know how to swim, never learn, and the ones that know never teach.
Fernando’s brother took six tabs of acid and jumped from the seventh floor of a project in queens. The paper reported there had been a rooftop party, but he was just with his two, maybe three boys, and then he started to wreck shit, so they kicked him out and locked the doors.
Then he made it up fifteen flights of stairs, his friends lived in the basement, and out the door and off the ledge and into mid-air, where, for a few seconds, he flew, before hitting the ground.
My eleventh grade boyfriend’s high school Advisory teacher died during his tenth year. I was at the school but I didn’t have him and became obsessed with looking him up on the internet afterwards. Everything important got taken down within the year, so no one else knows he died fighting alcohol, left behind two children, wasn’t as strong as he had made it out to be when he called out sick that week from work.
Tommy never wore a shirt, not in the scorching heat or the blistering cold. The husky, Rocco, would sniff me out down the block first, and then Tommy would come out shirtless, whether it was winter or summer. He was tougher than any biker I knew, proved it with the gaps in his teeth and twisted braid falling down his back. He wore heavy rings and once confided how much I look like his wife. I didn’t know anyone I wasn’t related to, and even then, that I looked like. She wasn’t buried too far, and he died after I moved away. His death doesn’t hurt me to think about, but I am sorry, of course. I don’t know if I’d want to say goodbye so much as have another fond day, where it isn’t so clear to him how far I am moving on. I hope he is with his wife now, and I imagine they still love each other.
Ryan went to highschool with my sister and got run over separating from his brother. A car hit him, he went down, and the drunk driver ran over him three times. I wondered how he managed to check his voicemail from beyond the grave. Who keeps or deletes that shit? And when is it gone forever?