One of them died.

Why I Stalk The Instagram Pages of The Deceased

It’s exactly what you think

You’re here and then suddenly — you’re not.

My darling friend is on standby as she awaits the birth of her second child — almost eighteen years after the birth of her daughter. It was an unexpected pregnancy that hit right when she thought it could never happen. At the ripe old age of forty — she managed to get knocked up without even trying. Her four-year romance with a guy — twelve years her junior had surprised the shit out of her — and to celebrate — they decided to take a chance.

Her baby boy will be here any day now and the last time — we spoke — she sounded tired and anxious. Her body — weary with the burden of the last stretch — all she wants for February is the bundle of joy who will make his appearance — grow tall enough to be a basketball player — and then die of circumstances that have already been sealed without consent.

Two people that I didn’t know passed away today.

One of them interests me more because she was a young woman with beautiful hair and an Instagram page that could’ve gone a mile with no end — but instead stopped with a group photo that signaled the life she was set up to live.

She’s not the first page I’ve stalked and she won’t be the last.

I started doing the weird stuff after a celebrity died tragically and someone retweeted a tweet he had posted just days before. It was chillingly persuasive to take that detour to the timeline that used to belong to a living being.

The words of wisdom mixed in with the evidence of what this person hated, loved and truly believed in are impaled on platforms that carry usernames, passwords and the settings that are still appropriately arranged — according to the preferences of owners.

The knowledge on Twitter is minimal and not as potently gratifying as Instagram.

This is due to the obvious fact that Instgrammers have a penchant for dramatizing their existence in ways that are personalized — which ups the ante when you really have the acute desire to get to know somebody — ASAP.

On regular days — I’m discovering the voluminous array of an unrelated explosion that greets me — each time I venture to explore familiar and new territory. I can’t escape the sins of clicking on cute babies without paying the price with collages of pregnant women — striking poses with bloated bellies and swollen faces filled with expectation. Dead celebrities that I loved are sharing purgatory with their living counterparts who will join them soon. Nigerian food dishes are now fighting for space with images that recall the time when our President was once a well-dressed Black man with urgent morning calls.

Today — I’m focused on the woman who died — I’m quietly obsessed with how it happened — whether she understood what was going to happen as it was happening — and whether she planned on posting anything today — the day after her demise.

There are so many other things I should be doing — but this intervention is actually the therapy that I can’t afford.

She was unbearably lovely and achingly aware of how lucky she was to have the opportunity to pursue her dreams of stardom in the City of Dreams — alongside the love of her life — who had already realized his vision.

The situation seemed to be the typical journey of those who share her general aesthetic of slight build with toned abs and edgy hair. Light as a feather with a a whimsical approach to style and tone — she had proven her range with stints on TV shows and recordings with famed producers. Yet — her earthiness was rooted in her ability to celebrate the love for her lover and their primal surroundings.

As soon as I landed and clicked the first pic — it was obvious that I was joining the party of grief as the messages on the lower part of the page glittered with the moisture of condolences while the top half still glowed with residue of shoutouts and promises for future engagements.

She began 2018 with the peace sign and the backdrop of an artsy installation that lights up with eyes that are hidden to reveal the shadow of hopes and fears — that hide from the flash needed to secure the weight of a diminutive figure.

She films moments in passing — where she’s playful and beckoning with the fluidity of an explorer who enjoys the challenge of joy and contentment — amongst the things we take for granted and the people we believe will never leave us.

Her birthday surprise is pleasing — the sunshine and her goddaughter is delightfully comforting — her delicate black stilettos with red toes slightly peaking out initiated a quick flirtation with the hubby who would perish by her side weeks later.

The tapestry of oceanic habitats, garden parties, the mother who is now screaming, the quirky mannerisms that highlight the simplicity of beauty, and the captions that serve as reminders of what she already knew — before she knew what we know now.

My life is uneventful and that’s why I’m alive.

When there was shit going on — I never contemplated dying in mid-sentence — unless you count the time when the plane sounded like it was taking off — even though the wheels were still halfway planted on the ground — with no elevation.

I’m now a sucker for normalcy and the boring routine of knowing exactly how each day will go — down to the way I will fix my body under the covers when the lights are dark. This phase will fade when the constant warmth fills the air with energy and I suddenly get the urge to take the risk of crossing the street to check out the other side of the hill.

Until then — I have Instagram and the growing faces of those who were here — and are suddenly gone with a trace.

It’s time for me to get to work. I can’t disappoint you when you accidentally stumble upon the page of somebody you didn’t know — who knew you would find her. Eventually.

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