I know nobody reads this, so that's why I'm going to tell a little story. Just to get it on paper somewhere. I'll probably delete it later but whatever.
When I was a freshman, I wrote a Gazette article about Formspring and its uses/abuses. It was pretty dull stuff, truth be told. But somehow, while I was fiddling with my own Formspring account, I stumbled upon Jeff's.
I don't remember any specifics, but the hate and anger thrown at this kid, holy shit.
He was one of the very few people I'd ever met to come out as gay while still in high school. I'd always looked up to him for that - like maybe, just maybe, if he could do it and still have everything a "normal" kid could, there was hope for me. He was gay, but he had friends, and he seemed happy. As a freshman, a sick-in-the-head why-the-fuck-do-I-like-women-just-as-much-there-must-be-something-horribly-wrong-with-me freshman, that concept blew me away. He contradicted everything I had ever thought about life as a young gay person in Granite Bay, simply by the fact that he had a life. I probably never spoke more than ten words to the guy, but I swear to God, I really admired him.
He was kind to me, too - an oddity in itself. He would buy lollipops from me during first period, often treating his friends. I remember how seriously they took their little ritual. Ranking the flavors and whatnot.
But more to the point, his Formspring archive remains etched in my mind for a reason. I'd always felt very uncomfortable here, with my bisexuality, and all those knowing glances, but I thank God I never had to deal with what he did. It was unrelenting. Often obscene. Always anonymous.
But he replied to them without animosity. That was the really incredible part.
I sent him a message on Formspring, too. Anonymously, of course. I don't recall what I said, but something to the effect of what I mentioned before to you: That I envied and admired him, and his courage to live as I could not.
I don't know how Jeff died and I don't care to. I have no idea if his sexuality figured into his decision or not. And I say all of this from the perspective of an outside observer - I wasn't his friend, or even an acquaintance, nor do I pretend to be.
My sympathies lie not with Jeff himself, but with his family and friends, and I cannot emphasize that enough. As with any death, they are the ones truly suffering, not him.
I merely hope that if we can possibly take any good out of this tragic loss, it is the fragility of life, and of the lives around us. I pray that none of you reading this would ever force such sad, selfish heartbreak on your own loved ones.