She was my best friend
I knew writing this would be hard for me emotionally but I had expected the words to gush out. But they aren’t gushing. I’ve never had to write anything like this before so I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Is this for Alice? Is it for me? is it for all of us? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that I feel lost, empty, and no longer with purpose now that my best friend is gone. So what follows may end up being just a rambling random mis-mash of everything I can think of that I want to say and I’ll just hope you readers are able to forgive me if my grief is just too overwhelming to maintain too much coherence at this time.
Alice landed in D.C. in May of 2006. When I met her she was rapping for money on the corner of K and 14th NW. I invited her to my place where she told me her story, which broke my heart. And even though I had just met this person, here I was inviting her to live with me. And live with me she did for most of the next 9 years until I myself became homeless.
Alice was a gift to me. She made me a better person for having known her. If it weren’t for Alice I wouldn’t have or care about having an understanding of the struggles of trans folks. Nor would I have an understanding of how dangerous life can be for folks who are resistant to treatment for schizophrenia. She felt under attack so much of the time. Some of those attacks were real, some only in her head but just as real to her nevertheless. She was strong, she was courageous and even when fearful inside she was able to put up a front. She just wanted to love and be loved.
She had the biggest, brightest beautiful blue eyes and an infectious smile. These were a few of her favorite things: watching rap videos on the internet, Mountain Dew, spicy food, Ghostbusters, the color pink, Nightmare on Elm Street, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X Files, swimming, performing at Busboys & Poets on open mic nights, attending services at Foundry United Methodist Church where she was a member.
I sit at the corner of 13th and G streets and sing and a few times a week Alice would stop by and we’d share a cigarette. I don’t know how long it will take for me to stop looking for her to come around the corner and sit with me. Hoping it won’t take too long. I’m trying to find the balance between hanging on and moving on. Right now all I want to do is hang on with all I’ve got and do everything I can to keep her memory vividly and constantly alive. But I look forward to a day when I can remember her without breaking down. It’ll take time.
To Alice, thank you for all you brought into this world. I love you with all my heart. Always have, always will.