I just found out that one of my friends is dead. Her sister emailed me to tell me; apparently I was on a list of people that Zoey* wanted to be contacted.

I feel simultaneously numb and as though something is lodged inside of me and refuses to leave. I had never met her in person—we knew each other online, and kept in touch on the phone and Skype—but I felt close to her. We would talk for hours, about music, our hobbies, our opinions on our classmates, and whether the multiverse really exists. She was so easy to talk to, and never seemed afraid to share her opinions on anything.

She took her own life around 1 AM on April 17, 2013. I feel like I should have done something to prevent this. People always seem to say that in situations like these, and it used to sound like a hollow cliché to me, but now it’s the only thing going through my mind. I talked to her just a few days ago, and the conversation just sort of fizzled out, like they do sometimes. I didn’t think much of it; I figured we’d talk again another day. But the next time I logged on to my computer I saw the message from her sister.

I find it hard to smile, or laugh, or talk, which is what my mother wants me to do. I’m not even sure what to do with myself right now. I want to burrow deep into the earth and let the world surround me, because I surely can’t fully support myself in this mess of tears and confusion.

I’ve been thinking about this line from Sylvia Plath’s poem “Mad Girl’s Love Song”: “I think I made you up inside my head.” I feel like Zoey is already becoming just a memory, and I don’t want that, especially since I don’t really understand what happened yet. Why did she do what she did? Was there anything I could have done? I feel useless; I feel narcissistic. This isn’t about me, and I’m not that powerful. I have to figure out how to move on. But even the thought of moving on seems selfish; I should have DONE SOMETHING. Maybe if I hadn’t let that conversation dissolve, I could have prevented this. Or maybe there was something else I could have done. But what? How? ♦

* This name has been changed.