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2002-05-06 9:53 p.m.

I missed work today. After visiting Caroline in the hospital, and not being allowed to see her, I drove to Apple. I sat down at my desk, but nothing really happened. I was too upset to work. Tollef called me and asked if we should go to lunch and then to visit Caroline, so I packed my things and stepped out into the comforting arms of the warm, May sunshine.

After a Chipotle lunch, Tollef and I paced the aisles of Long's looking for cards that were properly funny/offensive to bring to Caroline in the hospital. Congratulations on your bar mitzvah? We're so sorry to hear about your father? Happy birthday nephew? Thanks for your business? A card shaped like a giant pill? They all were either too offensive, or not offensive enough. Or, maybe it was just that some jokes are more funny in theory than in practice? Maybe we would just try to explain our jokes to her when we see her, if her body, her soul, modern medicine, and all our prayers decided to grant life. We left Cupertino and drove to Stanford Hospital, where we sat and waited for Ray just like that Fugazi song.

After hanging around for about an hour in the intensive care waiting area, we found out she had been moved into the psychiatric ward. Good news: The anti–toxins seemed to be working, and the doctors woke her up from her controlled unconscious state. I heard she even asked to see me. I almost could not believe it: she was alive. Alive.

I was bewildered, happy, and dazed when I walked into the psych area and the impossible spectre Caroline—elegantly clad in a stylish, wrap–around hospital gown—ran across the room and leaped on me. She screamed my name with glee, she bit my ear, she hugged me. Her hair was knotted and unkempt like Ray's always is. I guess it runs in the family. Her lips were very chapped. Her glasses were crooked. Alive. Alive.

The inside of a psych ward, such a strange place. How fortunate I felt to be there right then, knowing that my friend was alive, and that we could all sit and talk, laugh, joke, relate.

There are so many ways one can end their life on earth, I can not understand why one would choose to forfeit all possible instances of their life forever, rather than simply end this current, specific incarnation of their life. If you hate your parents, isn't it better to run away from home than to live at home and be unhappy and feel there are no choices and consider death as a viable alternative? Isn't it better to quit your job and move to Prague or San Francisco or Iceland with not a cent in your pocket than to end life forever?

They key to ending your life is not to end all possible lives, but instead to simply end this incarnation of your current life—and replace it with a new life, a different life, a life full of tomorrows you can look forward to with giddy and nervous anticipation during that groggy twilight time between awake and asleep each night.