He died 25 years ago.
On New Year’s Eve 30 years ago, a group of my friends and I got trapped in a bedroom when Dave’s drum kit was blocking the door. We climbed out the window to leave.
Twice a day for years, I drove by Viretta Park and would look up at Kurt’s bench and took a second to think about him. I was always happy to see the burning votive candles at night.
On the day they found his body, I had just seen Schindler’s List in the theater alone. My eyes were puffy and red and I was walking around in a daze. I walked up to visit a friend at a shop on Broadway and he thought I had been crying from the news.
A month later, my cousin Erik killed himself the exact same way. He was my friend and my savior at summer camp in the northern woods of Michigan. He and I were the the black sheep of the family, as described so by my uncle, his father. Then, he was gone.
All these memories are tangled together in my head. So when I drove by Kurt’s bench, I thought of Erik.
Then today I saw this t-shirt at H&M, thought about how it must be close to around that time of year and realized it was exactly that time of year. I began to wonder if the kids wearing those t-shirts just see him as some sort of patron saint for misfits and glamorize his death. Immediately, the In Bloom lyrics played in my brain:
He’s the one
Who like all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he don’t know what it means
Don’t know what it means
And I say