A Song, A Catch, Undone: An Admirer Reflects on Uncertainty


Visiting his old blog was a late-night, instinctual sort of stumbling. A way to reconnect with someone I had imperceptibly missed lately. That someone lived in Porto Alegre, on the southern tip of Brazil, and we had formed a connection through text and video conversations over Whatsapp, a messaging app. [Link to Part 1]

The connection with Felipe fell in that zone between friend and romance which I took fairly unseriously and met hopefulness on his part with a joke or a laugh. Mostly, though, our interaction felt lighthearted and natural - well, as natural as contact over nearly 7,000 miles could be - and refreshing. It wasn’t just his foreignness, handsomeness, or his easy manners. Felipe was an idealist, and that cheesiness was endearing to me.

At some point it became difficult to talk: missed calls, unanswered texts, and happenstance interrupting scheduled catch up. I wasn’t in the habit of checking his blog, but had read it when I first got to know him, and, as a last resort, figured an answer might lie there.

His blog was in Portuguese, but luckily, Google Translate had given me an understandable, if rougher version of his past essays and diaries. Mostly the entries were expositions on the history and sociology of education and academic analyses of philosophical works, but occasionally he revealed his own internal perspectives through oblique references to past happenings or “lessons learned.”

There hadn’t been a new entry since I had known Felipe, but that night, there was: a post called “Peace of Mind,” approximately two weeks old. The blog post began,

After more than a year without writing here, I finally find some courage to publish this one which, perhaps, is the most necessary post of all. For those who have never heard of me again, he will explain in general terms the causes of disappearance.

That the message was necessary, took such effort to publish - and that it referenced what I had not yet named, his disappearance - grabbed my attention. Yet the inconsistency of the tenses and the grammatical vagueness made it difficult to understand, ominous. The post continued:

What I most expect of 2017 is peace. Yes, a deep peace of mind.

In 2016, I suffered on the skin all the pain and suffering that depression and anxiety together can lead a person to experience. At many moments I thought I could not bear all the anguish and agony that my mind was capable of producing. I thought I could not be alive this holiday season.

The reference to suicide was serious. Felipe had undergone difficult struggles during the past year, which his post did not hesitate to list. The persistence of suicide in the gay community continues to be a largely invisible (and tragic) phenomenon.