‘for it might end, you know,’ said Alice to herself, ‘in my going out altogether, like a candle. I wonder what I should be like then?’ And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle is like after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember ever having seen such a thing.
(Alice in Wonderland)
I was never fond of public commemorations. The close ones no longer amongst us, I prefer to remember in spaces private. As for those we encountered in spaces public, remembering them in the public once again often feels as a memorial service, a litany exorcising the present in favour of some ubiquitous past.
Alexi, with you it’s a little bit different. I never knew you. I only ever encountered you through your commemoration, from the very first hours of that Saturday night over 1,000 nights ago up until now. I often try to imagine what could have become of a life I never crossed paths with. You would graduate from school. You would perhaps enroll in some university. You would consider migrating, just like so many of us do. I think you would ponder about the Occupy movement, too. You would excitedly watch videos pouring in from Tahrir, from Madrid, from New York and from Oakland. You would say aloud that you never thought you would live to see such a thing as an Oakland Commune, and deep inside you would know this is the sweetest of revenge, that none of this would have ever happened if they hadn’t shot down Oscar Grant. None of this would have happened if they hadn’t shot down you. I wish you were here to see what the flame of a candle is like after the candle is blown out.
I do miss you, kiddo.