Cartography / by Shaun Fauntleroy

2:45am

Death is unnatural. I have always believed this, but I think I now understand why. When someone enters your life your memory begins to create an emotional landscape of who that person is to you. They revealed their sense of humor in this valley, at this turn you discovered their sweetness... After many years, the map of this person and your mutual love has been etched on your soul. Then, all of a sudden, they are gone. Sometimes it's a natural death, sometimes it's a blinding, flashing light that leaves you stunned and raw...without explanation. The emotional landscape on your soul tells you they should be there, that if you look hard enough you will find them, but then you go to the designated valley and you find a strip mall is in its place. The world does not, cannot reconcile with the truth in your soul, and your only validation is memory. It happens to everyone. The young and old are taken, with and without explanation. Nature tells us this is natural, our souls say it is an aberration. Which bears the truth? I believe that were were not intended to die, to degrade, to fade. I believe in paradise.

My cousin would have been 26 today. He was killed in March. One day I'll see him again and he'll show me all the places in him that life's limitations prevented me from charting and then I'll show him mine.

Happy Birthday, Brandon. You are dearly loved, and missed.