In my last year of college a good friend went with a group of people to the spillway attached to the reservoir outside of town, and ended up drowning after saving one of the girls that had waded in too deep and had gotten caught by the undertow. A few months later Ryan’s best childhood friend (and very close friend of mine as well), Wayne, and I, attended a wedding for a friend in the group. After the reception, more than a little drunk, we drove out to the spillway to see where Ryan had died. I remember being furious. Inexorably furious, that you could actually hear the water rushing from the reservoir, and that somehow my friends had been dumb enough to come here and attempt to get in the water, even jokingly. There was no mistaking that despite the calm surface, the water was roaring off the dam just around the corner. I remember that it was an icy cold December night, but surprisingly not very windy, which is odd for Manhattan, and that at some point after silently sitting on some rocks for a while, I just stood up and started hurling things into the water. I stood there and threw as hard as I could anything my hands snatched off the ground, and then I lugged big heavy boulders, discus style, into the water with big splashes. I don’t know how long I did it, or that I did anything much more than scream and throw rocks. But whatever I did was enough to make my right arm almost useless for many days afterward, and that this soreness was oddly comforting to me. It seemed defiant, this attempt to fill up the particular bend of the river, and was was by far the most cathartic and freeing thing I did during the grieving process. I needed to do something with that much powerless grief, so I filled up the river like a big fuck you. Because what I really wanted to do was yell at Ryan for being so stupid, but I couldn’t.

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