Two weeks ago, you stood at the edge of the small pond on the edge of campus, wings half-stretched akimbo in the sun. I almost didn't see you as I drove past, just a gray shape out of the corner of my eye. But something made me turn around and go back, and I parked in the student lot alongside the path that winds past the pond, and sat on the grass, admiring your gawky elegance. A student sat on the other side, crossed legs, upturned hands resting on knees, meditating.
When I saw you again on Tuesday, did you know? Did you know that boy was beneath the water? Were you waiting for the search team to reach that spot? You gave me such joy when I saw you then, again, my heart lifting at the sight of you against the backdrop of daffodils and lawn.
Now, I'm afraid to look, afraid I'll imagine what might have happened on his walk home early Sunday morning, back to the residence hall that he was to move out of in only a few weeks. Afraid to think of the family that still awaits him. Afraid to think of fellow students, in shock, confronting mortality in a way 18-year-old Americans, particularly those at a private college on a hill, seldom have to.