For the past week or so, I’ve been waiting to hear from Wei. An email, a posting on my Facebook page. A nudge, a poke, a presence. Anything. Anything at all.
I met Wei during my travels, when, unbeknownst to me, we were assigned a room together at a guesthouse in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia. Still in the early days of her extended sabbatical adventure from work in Singapore, Wei was busily typing away on her laptop on the bottom bunk when I entered the room. We spent some time together in UB, meeting other travelers, eating out and chatting in our room. When we parted ways, Wei continued on her journey through Asia and Europe (as I did, but at a different pace) and we corresponded periodically.
I’d been concerned about Wei ever since our last instant chat on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, when she seemed quite obviously in despair (love, she called it) over a guy whom she could not get out of her mind. He lived in Europe, they’d met on the road, fallen in love – and she yearned to be with him.
As much as one can intuit emotion through internet instant messaging, I sensed it loud and clear. Though I was exhausted, I felt that I needed to give her the time – and attention – so she could vent, express her sadness and just be heard. When she wrote that she barely left the house anymore, I urged her to seek help and encouraged her to speak to friends, to get out even for a walk or to find a distraction.
When I finally logged off, it was with some measure of uncertainty and regret. I couldn’t be sure that Wei was stable enough to be let alone. So she was on my mind, on and off, for the last while.
And then, over the weekend, a gnawing took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I instinctively felt that something was wrong. I waited until yesterday, when I looked her up on Facebook. My heart skipped a beat when I read a short line that she would have posted herself: Wei is dead.
How do you get your head around that phrase in the world of Facebook? Did she really write that? Did someone hack into her account and pull a fast one on her? Was this a black-humor side of Wei’s that I couldn’t anticipate? I was shocked, confused, dazed and nervous.
I sent her private messages. Urgent ones. Yesterday and today. I posted on her Wall, asking if anyone knew of her whereabouts. I went swimming. I thought of Wei. I went to Reiki class and I thought about Wei. I came home and I checked Facebook. Nothing. Not a word from Wei. Not from anyone.
I thought some more of Wei. Then I thought of Marianna. And I prayed, deeply prayed, that someone would please send me a sign, just one line… just to let me – let her friends around the world – know that somehow, somewhere, Wei just IS.