By Jake Bradner, The Whetstone
Black and brown aren’t people, they’re colors on someone’s skin. Just because someone might be of a different race, doesn’t mean that they can’t make you romantically happy. That’s the one thing I learned about myself when I knew Alainna-Caitlyn Earl.
On my way back to college for my spring semester of freshman year, my grandfather predicted that my dream girl would be a black girl who wears glasses, was into music, in the marching band, and into similar things like I am. I remember scoffing at that idea, thinking, “yeah right, Pop-Pop.”
I met Alainna that semester. I remember our first conversation like it was yesterday. We were debating each other on whether or not Ben Affleck was the right pick to play Batman [he was].
I found out that she loved music and, when she was feeling down, she liked to write music as a cure. She also loved writing. In fact, she even expressed the idea of going back to Wesley to teach writing because she loved how the professors were free to teach. Wesley was like home to her and nothing else came close.
I felt comfortable talking to her and I soon started to develop feelings. I realized that it wasn’t the color of her skin that mattered to me, but who she was as a person.
I loved our similarities and I really liked how she was her own person –unique from anyone else on campus. But most importantly, I liked how she listened and cared about me and everything I was saying.
My grandfather was right—she was black, wore glasses, was into music, and we were into similar things. I’d like to think it was all a coincidence, but who the hell knows?
The next semester, I passed Alainna—who wore her black and yellow Batman jacket, as usual—everyday as I walked back to my room. She was absolutely beautiful and seeing her always made my day. I wanted to ask if she wanted to do anything with me every time I said hi, but I was too nervous.
When I walked to Burger King one day, some of her friends invited me to go to their room for a party. When I got there I saw the sticker on the door said “Alainna” and realized that my crush lived there too, and she was probably at the party.
The door opened and there she was, hanging out in the kitchen. I sat with her at the kitchen table and we talked about everything from Radiohead, to Batman, to Firefly. In the midst of our conversation, I told that I’d never seen The Godfather. Of course, she flipped and said that we all had to go to my room to watch it.
When we got to my room and she put in the The Godfather DVD, I felt like it was the time to hint at some of my feelings for her—I reached and held her hand in mine. When everyone else left to take a smoke, I told her that I really liked her. She told me she felt the same.
Though Alainna and I were never in a relationship, we shared a lot of great memories together.
On our first date, we went to go see Gone Girl (perfect date movie, right?) and she laid her head on my shoulder. After we left the theater she was jumping up and down, telling me that it was the best date of her life. And every time we left each other for the night, she always gave me the best make-out kisses I had ever gotten from anyone.
But I think one of the best memories I have of Alainna was the time we fell asleep together while listening to Radiohead’s fourth album, Kid A.
As the first track was playing while the booming keyboards and Thom Yorke’s wailing vocals were bursting through the stereo, I truly felt that at that moment in time, everything was truly in its right place. I was really happy and there was nowhere that I wanted to be than on that couch sleeping with her while Radiohead played.
I felt safe and secure when I was holding her in my arms sleeping, and I’d do anything just to relive that moment yet again.
We eventually stopped seeing each other, but we still remained very close friends and hung out. No matter what she did, she looked out and cared for people.
When I heard about Alainna, I didn’t want to believe it at first. I wanted to be like Thom Yorke in “How to Disappear Completely,” to feel that I wasn’t here and everything wasn’t happening. I thought life was playing a cruel joke on me, but it wasn’t.
She died. I didn’t get to say goodbye or anything. She just went away, just like that. She was very sick and not many people knew about it. This is a very tough loss for me and I’m extremely heartbroken, but I’ll try to stay strong just like she tried to stay strong, fighting the cancer that was within her.
R.I.P. Alainna Caitlyn Earl, I hope you rest as hard just as much as you rested hard against me while listening to Radiohead.