I’d first seen her in Stanley Park one afternoon when a bunch of us were sitting around with guitars, playing whatever came into our heads and generally fooling about. A number of kids had congregated to catch the mood and catch the sun, she sat away from the others under the shade of a tree; long thick hair the color of new pennies burning against almost white skin. She wore a green summer dress and red Converse.
I knew she was there but not really there until Gus came along in a daze, stood among us and announced Kurt Cobain was dead. For real! Shot himself in the head and was dead! I looked at her then, alone under that tree; tears running black from her eyeliner. I told myself she needed comfort only really it was me who needed her. So I went to her and held her. She sobbed into my white t-shirt.
We practically stayed like that for the rest of the day, talking about Kurt and singing his songs. Then somebody played ‘In Memory of a Free Festival’ on his boom box and after that the only thing to do was go home or someplace else.
She came back to my place.
We ate pizza and listened to Nirvana CD’s while she cried some more. She laughed when I told her she looked like a clown with her make-up running. We kissed before she left me knowing I would see her again.
Soon we were living together and making plans. Sex wasn’t that great but I put that down to anything I could think of except the truth. I wasn’t going anywhere near the truth back then.
After the dog I started to find more ways to make her cry so I could comfort her. During the day I would make up sad stories to tell her at night. And I would buy her eyeliner and mascara, the cheap stuff that ran, and encourage her to use it.
But I should never have told her about the clown.
They found her on the sidewalk, crumpled and broken, except for her face, which, undamaged by the 30 foot fall from the window, she’d made up like a clown’s. Bright red mouth – I’d never known her to wear lipstick - and thick black weep lines running from her eyes. She had cropped her hair. Gelled it so it stood up like a fright wig.
Just like Bepo the clown who at my 8th birthday party led me into the cellar to show me the secrets of magic.