I went to the States to speak at the Artifact conference in Providence (which was great). I extended the trip so that I caould make it to Science Hack Day in San Francisco (which was also great). Then I made my way back with a stopover in New York for the fifth and final Brooklyn Beta (which was, you guessed it, great).
The last day of Brooklyn Beta was a big friendly affair with close to a thousand people descending on a hangar-like building in Brooklyn’s naval yard. But it was the preceding two days in the much cosier environs of The Invisible Dog that really captured the spirit of the event.
The talks were great—John Maeda! David Lowery!—but the real reason for going all the way to Brooklyn for this event was to hang out with the people. Old friends, new friends; just nice people all ‘round.
But it felt strange this year, and not just because it was the last time.
At the end of the second day, people were encouraged to spontaneously get up on stage, introduce themselves, and then introduce someone that they think is a great person, working on something interesting (that twist was Sam’s idea).
I didn’t get up on stage. The person I would’ve introduced wasn’t there. I wish she had been. Mind you, she would’ve absolutely hated being called out like that.
Chloe wasn’t there. Of course she wasn’t there. How could she be there?
But there was this stupid, stupid part of my brain that kept expecting to see her walk into the room. That stupid, stupid part of my brain that still expected that I’d spend Brooklyn Beta sitting next to Chloe because, after all, we always ended up sitting together.
(I think it must be the same stupid part of my brain that still expects to see her name pop up in my chat client every morning.)
By the time the third day rolled around in the bigger venue, I thought it wouldn’t be so bad, what with it not being in the same location. But that stupid, stupid part of my brain just wouldn’t give up. Every time I looked around the room and caught a glimpse of someone in the distance who had the same length hair as Chloe, or dressed like her, or just had a bag slung over hip just so …that stupid, stupid part of my brain would trigger a jolt of recognition, and then I’d have that horrible sinking feeling (literally, like something inside of me was sinking down) when the rational part of my brain corrected the stupid, stupid part.
I think that deep down, there’s a part of me—a stupid, stupid part of me—that still doesn’t quite believe that she’s gone.