I’ve know my friend Kelsey since we were both 8 years old. We were in the same class, the same clique, the same Girl Scout troop. 17 years. I feel too young to have known someone for so long.
She has a picture of our grade school gang stuck to her refrigerator. We’re all bundled up in parkas and windbreakers with rosy cheeks and huge, gap-toothed smiles. Me and Kelsey and Julia and Ana and Katie and Jenni.
One day as we were looking at that old photo, reminiscing about childhood mischief, Kelsey noted that nearly everyone in the group had grown up to be some flavor of gay or another. At the time it made us both chuckle…it still does. After this June, that happy revelation has taken on a new weight.
On the 11th Kelsey and another dear friend and I were laughing and sharing coming out stories. The next day we were all silent and numb. And when I thought about that picture on Kelsey’s fridge, all I could think about was how deep, low far back the wound of a lost life can stretch.
And I know it is self-centered, but I thought about my little band of grinning Girl Scouts and I wondered ‘what if’. And I wondered how many people lost their own Kelsey that night. And I wept.
Margaret Overholt is a 25-year-old proud queer woman. She studied English at Carthage College and currently works for a patient advocacy non-profit. Most of her writing tend to focus on living with my own health issues or semi-spiritual reveries about Lake Michigan.