There were other details I can't remember. A distinctive feeling of having been there and knowing that all of it had happened before. But mostly I was happy. Happy to be with her again for a short time, even though I probably knew that I was dreaming. How else would the entire dream have been suffused with the knowledge that she would die?
It's been 1 year, 4 months, and 25 days. It's still just the very first chapter of my life without her. I think about her randomly and frequently, maybe when a picture of Blac Chyna comes out where her head size/thigh ratio seems impossible (must discuss) or when I'm trying to remember the name of a long-forgotten Rock of Love contestant (of course she would know, and probably interviewed her for 944 magazine back in the day). I was staying in Mendocino a few weeks ago and was so taken in by the striking beauty of the trees and ocean I think I whispered, "I miss you" out loud which felt stupid and satisfying at the same time. I have slowly lost the compulsion to send her a text message. I still have one of her voicemails saved on my phone.
Sometimes I flip through a Dropbox folder with her press clippings, writings, and photos compiled by friends and family called "Laurel's Archive." It is my chance to know her at times and stages I never really did. There she is in a cheerleading outfit, knee cocked, the same face I knew, the same dimples. At her high school prom, plump-cheeked and sporting an impressive 80's bang situation. They're all pictures I never saw when she was alive. The stories surrounding them likely lost to time and the people who were there and knew her then.
Her writing is profoundly good. It's one of the greatest mementos she left behind. In the archive are several poems she wrote. Usually reading other people's poetry is about as fun as sitting in on their therapy session (i.e. not nearly as interesting as you'd think) but of course her poems are devastatingly good. One of my favorites, untitled is simply:
My drowning pool is the loveliest shade of blue. Really, you should see it.
It's always just the right temperature and everything.
I climb right in with a big smile on my face.
I sink down and down
until the water covers my ears and I can't hear a word you say.