I just found out via Facebook that a young woman I worked with for several summers died this week. She played Creon in the production of Antigone I worked on in 2007, she played Viola in Twelfth Night — I think that was the following year?
She was so, so talented, and she had the most beautiful speaking voice: deep and articulate. Perfectly suited to classical texts.
Her name popped up on my feed in the status of a local high school drama teacher who was remembering her, and I had to Google her, because I hoped that maybe I was mis-remembering the name, that it was someone else. And it turned out that in the last five years, not only did she come out, but she became a total BAMF in the local LGBTQ community. Last year she received a recognition award for her service. And I was still hoping I was thinking of the wrong girl, so I dug out my DVD of Antigone and yes, that was her, owning the stage, a sixteen-year-old black girl embodying a middle-aged Greek king, with her hair pulled back and the military jacket we put her in hanging too big off her square shoulders.
There is so much that’s strange about this. We’re doing Antigone again right now, and all the kids from that production have been much on my mind this summer. And the fact that I taught her — I was an adult in her life, and then she grew up to be an adult in her own right when I wasn’t looking, and then she was gone before I could find out — rocks me.
A part of me is glad to look her up again and glad to hear that she came out — I never suspected but I probably should have — and to hear that she did so much in the short time she was here. Of course she was a BAMF. Of course she went on local radio and told a moving, incredibly articulate, expressional story about her coming out. Of course she was someone I could be proud of, proud of knowing and proud of teaching, because I was so proud of her every time I worked with her.
And the rest of me is so, so sad that someone so bright is gone; someone so young and so talented and so beautiful.
Thanks for being in my life, Mya.