Saturday, November 05, 2005

A eulogy of sorts.

Her name was Pamela.

She’s dead now.

But she was alive, once. She was alive, and like oh-so-many people who were alive, who are still living, she had a story. Everyone has a story. And everyone has a story worth telling.

One somewhat gray afternoon, in the winter of 1983, a girl was born.

Her name was Pamela.

At least, that’s what it would eventually become. But on the day that she was born, she had no name. She only had a face, a face with dark eyes that glistened as if they had been washed over with morning dew. She was born without a name, and it would be a great while before she was given one.

Her parents were somewhat different from the norm, in that they believed that names were elusive creatures, things that they hadn’t the right to bestow upon their new pride and joy. A name was something that held wickedness and intelligence within its fragile fingers, things that brought down storms and raised up buildings. A name was something important. Important enough for her to choose on her own.

And so it was, that time passed by. Time went on, and the nameless girl crawled her way through the world, still not speaking, so still not giving herself a name. And as she grew, so did the world. Governments shouted at each other, people quaked and people cowered, insults and lies showering the globe with the insolence of their existence. But she didn’t care. She kept right on growing, as the world did nothing but continue to shout itself to its own inevitable destruction, not bothering to watch something truly important unfold.

And so it was, that she learned to speak. But time is not simple, and the first word she spoke was not her name. It was something that is considered trivial, but in that moment, that moment where the genesis of her words occurred, the one thing that took priority over her world was this: “Duck.”

She was at the park with her mother. She had been alive for two years and four months. Her eyes still gleamed as if they had been moistened by the morning dew. And she grew older.

It was a sunny morning in April when the fateful day finally arrived. Her mother had just gone down to the local supermarket in search of some eggs, getting ready to make a fine breakfast to get the weekend off on the right foot. While this went on, the young girl without a name was sitting on her fathers knee, telling her a story about how he had once found himself almost steeping upon a sleeping baby rattlesnake. His face contorted as he spoke, trying to get a different expression to emerge from his daughter. But she merely sat there, concentration holding itself between her tiny eyebrows, her eyes locked on a point that her father could not make out.

At that moment, her mother slipped on a patch of wet floor that had yet to be graced with a sign warning of its presence. As she tried to gain her balance in mid air, her head came in contact with the edge of a can that was part of a display of canned peaches. She would die in the hospital six hours later.

The nameless girl spoke: “I think Pamela is a nice name, Daddy.”
She was 6 years and 1 day old. Her birthday present had been a shiny red fire truck.

As she grew older, she grew smarter as well. She wasn’t exactly the quickest on tests, nor was she the slowest. But the people around her could tell that she had something within her, something that was always working, some kind of hidden mechanism that churned on and on behind those eyes of hers. She never told them about it. She wasn’t the type to, and they knew it. Just like they knew that she could see beyond them, to things which were far more important. And they loved her for it.

People are not always quick to accept those with eyes like hers; but every once in a great while, a person would also have something else, something within them that matched the intelligence which burned beneath their surfaces. Something that has never really been defined, but draws people with a quiet elegance, with a sense of empowerment, with ease and grace. And so it was, that while Pamela sat staring into the distance, smiling only when the world truly needed it, that she became the charming center of the world nearby.

Time passed.

And as time occurred, so did her stories, as will happen as life moves on.

When she was eleven years old, on a trip to the zoo, she caught her first real glimpse of an emperor penguin. She found that she loved it, and she felt that it loved her. It was a feeling that would last for the rest of her life.

When she was fourteen years old, as she was hiking in some woods with her best friend, a somewhat chubby girl named Jill, Pamela stepped off the path and stepped into a rusty bear trap, a relic of a year gone by. Jill would help her down the mountain, and would never tell her friend how much it amazed her that she didn’t shed one tear, despite the clearly terrible pain. Pamela would have a slight limp that would last for the rest of her life.

When she was seventeen years old, she lost her virginity. Two days after the senior prom. The boy was named Wilmer, and she had made him wait until after prom, for no real reason other than to watch him squirm. They would date for about eight more months after that. And then she would move on.

Like her, life moved swiftly. Buildings fell, and people lived. Buildings grew, and people died. Et cetera, and so on, so it goes. Time passed.

On a perfectly average day in the middle of February, Pamela had planned to meet Jill at a local record store, where the two of them would spend hours upon hours just browsing. They never seemed to buy anything, but that wasn’t the point of it, they just enjoyed each others company. But she never arrived. She was hit by a speeding Chrysler as she attempted to cross the street on a perfectly legal green light. Her dark, wonderfully deep eyes never saw it coming. And so it was, that they lost their gleam, the glisten that made them look as if they were covered by a fresh morning dew. Even without her, time passed by.


There really was a Pamela.

She really was born in 1983, and she really died in 2005.

You probably didn’t know her.

And truth be told, neither did I.

But other people did know her, and they cared about her. They cared enough to mourn, and they cared enough to remind themselves, as well as other people, that their friend had died.

This wasn’t her real story.

But I hope that whoever she was, she would have enjoyed it.

Because everyone has a story. And everyone deserves one.


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