Sunday, March 11, 2012

Emiliano Caluzzi (1973–2012)

What did I know about Emi? Not much. I turned up at his funeral with a first name and the name of the cemetery – foolish given they are the size of Texas these days – and not much more other than a heavy heart. I don't know why news of his death by his own hand hit me so hard. We never knew each other very well. But sharing the same space was intense enough back then. What I remember was a beautiful, shy young man. When my twin and I bumped into him at the movies a year or so ago he was playful, engaged, warm. It was a light, brief encounter and I remember feeling grateful he was still alive. I don't know why that thought flitted across my mind. Was it a dim memory of his earlier struggles? Sitting on the chapel pew I got to know him better.

After the funeral yesterday I went to the wake, on a rooftop in North Melbourne. I sat next to my ex-boyfriend. We pulled out our i-phones and showed each other photos of our kids. I looked at my old friends, and felt a great deal of affection and curiosity for their lives. I understood why I'd been drawn to them as a teenager: their creativity, intelligence, their love of Slayer. As the sun started to dip in the sky, I thought about returning home, grateful for the day – all of it – from the seven individual trips to the kitchen in the middle of the night (a sick monkey), the coffee and paper, the eulogies, the chance to honour Emi's life. Sharing stories about our lives shifted the raw sadness. The arrival of Emi's siblings, moving stiffly through the small crowd, their grief of a completely different order, shamed me. It brought back the loss, the terrible loss, there were three of them now there's only two.

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