Free-Floating Hostility

Friday, May 19, 2006


Tiesha Sargeant, as Best I Can

We haven't posted anything since Monday night, which probably gives the impression that I'm still too angry to talk about Tiesha. That's not how it is, though. I've been off in my own world mostly, I guess, adapting. I've thought about her almost continuously, but I just haven't been able to summon appropriate words to honor her. The last time I saw her, last summer, I was going to take her picture before we parted ways for the night, but my camera ran out of batteries and I hadn't brought spares. I remember the picture I was trying to take, though; in fact I was convinced for a time that I had really taken it. I hadn't, though, and it doesn't really exist.

At least one of Tiesha's friends has done better than I; she has posted a collection of pages about Tiesha. I don't have access to most of them though, besides this one. Chinara, if you find your way to this page, let's find a way to communicate, okay? Someone else has posted a story I just love; on closer inspection I realized it was the mother of that same friend. That made me feel responsible for populating the internet with stories that tell how wonderful Tiesha was, what a rare wit and a true friend, the kind that will call your bluffs. I've made life decisions based on conversations I had with her, because she was one of the few people really capable of changing my mind. But I keep drawing a blank. All I can remember at the moment are faces she made when she was laughing, or poking at me, or stressed out or riled.

Searching for mentions of Tiesha's name on the internet earlier this week, I came up with only pages about things she had done, places she had worked, activities she had pursued in college, pieces she had written, and so on. Gradually, they are being supplanted in the search engine ranks with news stories about her death and memorials to her. Normally I get excited when our blog is on the first page of a google search, but not this time. Especially since I didn't really write anything about her at all.

Initially a friend of a friend of hers posted about how little coverage Tiesha's death received on Monday. Eventually all the city papers ran the story, from the Sun to El Diario, but it wasn't really about her. I felt the same way. In fact I was so upset that I contacted Mike's old friend Jon at the Daily News and wound up talking to a reporter. They were already planning a better story, and since then, the Daily News has covered Tiesha all week. Eventually the Post followed with its own story along similar lines, proving that when the Post needs a story they run out and buy an early edition of the Daily News. I'm also curious to know where the Post got that semi-provocative picture of Tiesha--I think she would have had a lot to say about that editorial decision. Someone from Wesleyan, where she went to college, posted on a blog a few days ago that the University hasn't released anything about her yet, but I suppose we'll see.

It is good that so much attention has been paid. It is good that there are already two funds that I know of being set up in her name. It is appropriate. But at the same time, Tiesha had so little use for euphemisms, for visible delicacy, for indirection, for elephants in rooms--for bullshit of any kind--that I really wish I could get her opinion on how she is being remembered. I know she would make me laugh about it, if only as a coping mechanism.

I find I'm not strongly concerned about the outcome of the police investigation. I want a conclusion mostly so that I'll stop having terrible, unfair suspicions. But I don't think I'll feel, for my part, satisfied by any notion of justice. I can't think of anything that would balance the loss and the unfairness of all the things I will get to do, including typing right now on this keyboard with my neck resting uncomfortably against the couch arm and my eyes itching from the conjunctivitis I have improbably contracted, that my friend never finished doing, or that she never started. That last time we had supper she joked with me that her grandparents all lived into their 90s, so she had the genes for health and longevity. She had a great capacity for laughter, for joy, for criticism and clarity. No action can justly balance the reduction of all those gifts to mere potentialities, companions to the years she probably would have lived.

Tiesha always seemed so fearless, she was so often the one with the right thing to say, so strong and thriving and lovely, that it could be hard to see her wholly. Most people either believed she was immortal or purposely hunted her vulnerabilities to comfort themselves. I think both exhausted her. The current spin on her story is that she was successful in every area but her relationships with men, and it makes me want to scream. She wasn't successful in everything, in fact she was seldom satisfied with herself. And she was no pushover when it came to men, even if the men she cared for weren't as amazing as she was. Who hasn't made mistakes with the people we love? Who could ever have been good enough for her? If she had an enduring flaw it wasn't in how she saw men but in how she saw herself. She was the one person who couldn't fully appreciate the worth of her gifts and the slenderness of her shortcomings. She loved herself, but she hadn't yet grown into a full, ripe self-love. It's a small flaw, one that may be common to all women, and I think she would have learned with time and labor to change even that. She would have moved on to bigger and better flaws. I am still angry, and grieving, that she did not have time enough to finish changing.

I feel frustrated that even in the act of memorializing Tiesha, we are turning her into a character instead of the dauntingly complicated woman she was. But I'm not a good enough writer to take little stories about her and build them up into a biography, or even a sketch. The last time we met, she taught me how to eat the sugar cane that came in my drink. Another night she showed me that I didn't really think having children was a bad idea. Once, when we were students, she broke down in tears at the thought of her college applications, telling someone who tried to console her with the reminder that Bill Gates didn't graduate from college, "But Bill Gates dropped out of Haaaaaarvaaaard!" and burying her face in a pillow. I always wished she had applied to Columbia because we had identical outcomes at the four schools we applied to in common; her boyfriend at the time filled out an application just for kicks but she was tired and didn't. Once she and another girl were playing catch with a notebook and it hit Tiesha in the eye, and when she screamed with surprise and pain a teacher came in to tell us to keep it down. I know she thought often about a girl who graduated two years ahead of us who died in the World Trade Center. I used to be so intimidated by waiters that I was embarrassed to ask for doggie bags until Tiesha gave me one of those looks and got a doggie bag for me in a fancy restaurant, upon which of course I could see that it was perfectly normal. She was usually forty minutes late to every date we made. I won't breach politeness by telling you some of the female oral tradition she passed on to me before and after I lost my virginity. She almost broke my arm twice--once when she was so angry at another person that she could hardly see me and later couldn't remember doing it, and once in sheer exuberance over Larenz Tate and the premiere of Love Jones. I choreographed a dance for her and three other girls once, in which she was meant to represent Maturity, but we didn't rehearse it enough and you could see on stage that she was struggling to remember the steps. She told me once that she could be my friend because she never felt like she had to teach me anything, and I was flabbergasted, because she had taught me so much.

26 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Anonymous Emily Trower-Young at May 20, 2006 4:57 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Anna--I probably don't know you unless you went to Brearley, but I wanted to thank you for writing about Tiesha. She was 3 years ahead of me in school, but I can still remember first meeting her and thinking, "When I grow up, I want to be just like her." She was one of the most brilliant people I have ever met and while I only knew her in passing, she had a profound affect on my life. I only wish her life hadn't ended so tragically.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at May 20, 2006 12:06 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • sadly, i didn't get a chance to know, or even to meet tiesha.

    i went to wesleyan and graduated a few years before her, coming across the tragic story of her murder in our university newsletter. i wanted to let you know how much your words touched me. i also want to take issue with your statement that "i'm not a good enough writer to take little stories about her and build them up into a biography, or even a sketch".

    sorry, anna, but you are and you did...i can tell that your and tiesha's time together was filled with all the markings of a very special friendship between extraordinary women.

    thank you for sharing your words. my heart goes out to you in the face of what i can now confidently say is not only your loss, but all of ours.

    much love.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at May 20, 2006 6:06 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I would like to contribute toone of those funds if you have more information. Tiesha's death is a tragedy.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at May 20, 2006 6:21 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • There's a fund in Tiesha's name set up to benefit The Brearley School. You can contact Whilelmina Eaken at alumnae@brearley.org for more information. There are also plans in the works to set up a fund in her name at Prep for Prep. I don't have specifics for that one yet, but their site is www.prepforprep.org.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Colby at May 20, 2006 7:37 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Anna--Thank you for writing about Tiesha and sharing your memories of her. I knew her in frosh year at Wesleyan, and though we lost touch since then, I still have many wonderful memories of conversations with her. Every word you wrote rings true. I would like to contribute to her memorial if possible; please keep us updated if you find out any new information.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Chinara at May 21, 2006 1:56 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Anna, I just read your blog entry...please contact me as soon as possible through myspace. I would really like to talk to you

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at May 22, 2006 5:58 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • hello anna
    i just wanted to say thank you for writing about tiesha. i went to wesleyan with her. we were not close friends, but she was one of those people who made me laugh often and always had a smile on her face. it's so painful to know that something as horrific as this happened to her. i hope that you stay strong.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at May 23, 2006 9:40 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I had the great fortune of working with Tiesha for the past six months, and getting to know and befriend her during that time.

    This blog entry here says more than I ever could, or than I've the right to say, on the subject of Tiesha.

    You echo my feelings of the press coverage of her life and death to an incredible degree. I, like you, am not terribly concerned with the outcome of her murder investigation (beyond granting her family and friends some closure, which is of course of immense importance). And, like you, I don't feel comfortable with pinning the blame on anyone: Surely not based upon the reporting of the city's two least reliable newspapers.

    This week and a half since her unspeakably sad death has been far more trying than I'd ever have predicted. Truthfully, this has affected me more deeply than the tragic deaths of some people I knew far better. Something about Tiesha and the extent to which this was just inappropriate and cruel--and ran in such direct contradiction of how the woman lived her life-- really makes it impossible to comprehend or come to peace with.

    It may seem inappropriate to opine, but I find it no small testament to Tiesha that she and I got along as well as we did, and were able to connect on a pretty fundamental level. With me a white man, 9 years her senior, whose father lives on Park Avenue, a natural cynic, etc. --well, you understand, on paper quite different than she, and superficially at diametric opposition--we had no problem connecting, making one another laugh, and simply being friends.

    Of course, as none of those superficial differences mean shit when you strip it down to the bone, it should always be that simple. But, I know all too well that usually it isn't. Tiesha likely knew that better than I, and yet she was an astoundingly available and easy person to get to know and seemed sincerely interested in getting to know me.

    The press has reduced her life to a sort of trite, poetic irony, so I apologize for turning her into some socio-political symbol. It's not, in honesty, how I view or ever viewed our friendship or her. It's just the sort of thing you contemplate and intellectualize upon reflection, grasping at straws of meaning for the whole senseless thing.

    I've resisted posthumously canonizing the woman lest I run the risk of self-righteousness or losing the gestalt of what makes any person who she or he is. I appreciated that this complexity is something you made a point of carefully addressing in your entry. It's very important to remember at times like these.

    It's simply true that I sincerely respected the shit out of her while she was around and always regarded dealing with her as nothing less than a pleasure. It's a small thing, but I'm immensely grateful for the fact that our last conversation, the Thursday before her murder, was 20 minutes of just shooting the shit at her desk. As friends. Discussing all sorts of things, few of which related to our silly jobs.

    Anyway, thank your for a terrific, honest, eloquent, and incredibly well-observed eulogy. You knew Tiesha far better than I ever would have, most likely. But I consider it a privelege to have known her to the extent that I did and I miss her tremendously. I'll never forget her, that's for certain.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for doing so incredibly well.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at May 23, 2006 9:58 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Hi Anna,
    This is Rachael Holmes - a year below you (and fellow B-natural) at Brearley. Hi to Emily Trower-Young as well. I have no words, none that can be spoken at least, but just wanted to connect, someway, somehow..

  •   Posted by Anonymous Bob Kolker at May 23, 2006 1:51 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Anna - You don't know me. My name is Bob Kolker and I am a writer with New York magazine. I'm sorry to reach out to you so impersonally in the comments page like this, but I wasn't sure how else to go about it. I found what you wrote to be very moving, and I thought you might want to learn more about the feature story the magazine is planning about Tiesha Sargeant. Our goal is to make sure hers was not just anoter murder -- and that the life she did lead isn't eclipsed by tragedy of her death. In a magazine format, I believe I have the space and the latitude to create a more lasting tribute to her -- one that, as you point out, doesn't resort to pithy or easy, pithy, un-nuanced assessments.

    I will need help from those who know her to do the best job I can. From what you have written, it seems to me that the story would benefit tremendously from your insight. What you wrote seemed to capture so well the nuances of her personality that I thought it would be wrong of me not to reach out to you. Once again, I'm sorry to reach out this impersonal way, but I'd be very grateful for a chance to speak with you -- or with any of Tiesha Sargeant's friends. If you like, I'd be pleased to speak with you more about what I'm planning before you decide to participate.

    My email is robert_kolker@nymag, and my phone number is 212-508-0811. Many thanks, and once again, my condolences.

    Bob Kolker

  •   Posted by Anonymous Allison James at May 23, 2006 6:01 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Thank you so much for your blog, Anna. I too have been searching the internet daily for information about Tiesha and about the investigation. I found Chinara on myspace and now I'm here, so glad to have found you. There is actually a link to a story I wrote on my myspace blog in your blog. I didnt write it about Tiesha but I'm glad it touched you and thanks for including the link. Reading it again makes me think of the peace Tiesha must feel now, even as we feel so unsettled without her. I dont have any children though. I knew Tiesha from Prep for Prep and Brearley. I live in Atlanta and feel like I'm remembering her all alone. So thank you for opening your heart and inviting us in to remember with you.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at May 28, 2006 12:44 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Anna - I really do appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I have not spoken to anyone about Tiesha's death nor written about it, but I do think about her everyday and what a tragedy it truly is. I first knew Tiesha from Prep for Prep. She was my adviser for two years. She had an immense capacity for love and always made me feel loved when things were less than spectacular at home. Tiesha's hugs helped me make it through the day and her smiles were infectious. She always knew what to say, and made me feel good about myself. Fortunately, after the preparatory component, I headed off to Brearley, where Tiesha continued to serve as a mentor and friend. I hoped to see her in the elevator so she could ask me how I was doing, or what trouble I was causing, always with that gorgeous smile on her face. For the next four years, I had kept in touch via e-mail and phone calls. I always thought that Tiesha was too important to talk to me, but she always made time. And I longed for those days when I would hear from her. It was always unexpected, and it always cheered me up. Last summer, I was at a reception where she was the guest speaker. She looked all grown up and I was excited to see her, but also a little afraid. I was afraid that she would not remember me, or want to associate with me anymore after all these years. After all, she was this amazing human being and she had her own responsibilities. But as the evening progressed, as I was reluctantly networking, she tapped me on the shoulder, with the same smile that I remembered and gave me the last hug that I will ever get from her. The thing with Tiesha is that I was never very good at keeping in touch, but when we saw each other, it was just like old times. And that's the beauty of it all - Tiesha always made people feel comfortable. She was a true gift and I will miss her forever.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at May 30, 2006 4:43 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Thank you for writing this. I think these are the first tears I've shed over Tiesha though I've been aching about this since I got that phone call they morning of her death. I don't think that any words can really do her justice, and just typing that word makes my chest clench up. This blog made me remember (again) when I first saw and met Tiesha when she was little girl in the prep for prep program and the last time I saw her smiling at me a few weeks before she was killed...Though she was many things, I think one of her friends (and my boy) who called me on that Sunday to confirm her death said it best: Tiesha was 'regal'. To add to that in my own words, she was not only regal, she was real and down-to-earth. I feel like I've lost a member of my family. Rest Tiesha....scales will be balanced.

  •   Posted by Blogger Dawn at May 30, 2006 8:19 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I am so glad i just happened to google tiesha's name this week--to see if something different popped up. these past couple of weeks were tough, but one truly inspiring thing that came out of this tragedy was the wesleyan-brearley-prep information web that was made. just when i thought i was losing my connection with my wes alums, we all came through to check and make sure everyone was ok. chinara...we all miss you, hope to see you soon. the one thing my friends and i are doing is a mini-email listserve talking about the good things that we think of when we remember tiesha. she really was an inspiration to us all, and a true queen in every sense of the word. my first run in with her was freshman year, and we instantly had a brooklyn connection. over the following years, our circle of friends grew closer and larger, so at functions like senior cocktails, we were one big mass of loud, energetic folk.

    i am angry at the lack of press coverage for something so tragic...but i do not expect much from the media. the whole situation was suspicious, and i think it is unfair to just let it be forgotten. As her friends, we should try our best to keep her spirit alive...

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at June 01, 2006 10:04 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I pray that Tiesha's family and friends are finding a way to deal with this insanity, just a few short weeks after the tragedy. I've known Tiesha for quite a long time now, and it's hard to even conceptualize what's really happened. This is actually the first time I'm writing about her.

    I won't eulogize or share memories, but I just want to say that I will try to be more like Tiesha in my everyday dealings. All the love.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at June 09, 2006 2:04 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I did not know Tiesha, but she certainly has touched my heart. When I initially read the story in the Daily News my initial reaction was "how sad". But, I recently received an invitation from Wesleyan to attend a memorial service for Tiesha and began reading more about Tiesha and her life. I was further astounded to find that she had attended both my alma maters. I too am a Brearley ('83) & Wesleyan ('87) alumn. Though years apart, her story is my story, and the story of so many young, Black, Harlem, Bronx, Bed-Stuy.,Brownsville, Flatbush, Washington Heights- Prep for Prep, A Better Chance - Brearley, Spence, Chapin, Nightingale - Wesleyan, Columbia, Brown, Harvard, Yale girls who study hard, work hard and love hard. Thank you Anna, for memorializing this beautiful, awesome young woman in a way the Daily News and NY Post never could. Thank you Tiesha for living an exemplary life that has obviously positively impacted so many. Though I never knew you, I will never forget you.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at June 15, 2006 8:20 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I am sitting here wondering if I can wear a fake smile as I walk into work this afternoon. Yesterday evening I went to Tiesha's memorial service... in the 13 years or so that I have known her... i left still learning so much about her, and in partial regret that I did not get to share as much of her later years as I did the times we had in highschool. So many significant places, faces, and times I have had to re face in dealing with Tiesha's passing. I tried to be strong... hold my head knowing that I would find comfort in the fact that I even knew Tiesha. Tiesha was happy when she left us... some of us still search for happiness... in her short time here she has done and inspired so much. I tried to be strong... i thought I shouldnt shed tears over her passing. I hugged friends that were so dear to me, but hadnt seen in years. I consoled my peers... I tried to be a positive voice reminding people how Tiehsa is just experiencing something we have yet to. I tried to be strong... As the slide show at her memorial service turned out images of that unforgettable smile, I felt i could hear everyone's heart breaking. Some of the photos were mine... I thought about how hard it was for Jason to have to put the slide show together. A picture flashed that had all of us in it... our whole highschool gang ... it nearly broke me. I wanted to laugh at how silly we were being... instead I felt the urge to weep, realizing what indeed I was looking at. Tiesha was my aries sister... sassy, brilliant, confident... idunno, anything I say has already been said. Im just glad that this morning, after spending a long night wandering this city trying to make sense of it all, that I can encounter at random so many people who loved her. I kept trying to convey to the press the scope of Tiesha's death.. I dont know if words can capture that. Hundred's if not thousands of people, of all walks, are effected. My name is Keith Cherry... and I would love to meet, communicate, share or just even say hello to any of you. Lets find solace in knowing that we are special for experiencing someone as special as Tiesha Sargeant. I truly believe she was an angel that walked among us.
    my email: cavalier@thedugoutmusic.com

    I know some of you mentioned myspace. You can email me if you like so we can communicate more readily.

  •   Posted by Blogger Anna at June 15, 2006 10:43 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I just read a poignant meditation by someone who grew up close to Tiesha's family home. It's touching to see how people who never knew her have been moved by her.

  •   Posted by Blogger New Millennium Nigga at June 15, 2006 11:14 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • There are tears in my eyes as I write this. I am moved beyond description that you appreciated what I wrote. You describe it as a "poignant meditation." I would say that your words are that and so much more. I am deeply and sincerely sorry for your loss.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at June 25, 2006 8:22 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I want to say God Bless Tiesha's family and friends during this time of mourning. My cousin was murdered in 1992. He was 19yrs old. Shot and killed for $2.38. I will never forget how little such a young, vibrant life was worth. I know the feeling of anger when just a blip in the papaer about it. Just the dry facts on page 10 and thats it. Just another young, black male shot and killed by another young black male. Not worthy of the news coverage that other crimes get when different races and classes are murdered. Its all very sad. Blessings to you and yours during this diffult time.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 09, 2006 9:21 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Sarah at July 11, 2006 12:18 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Losing Tiesha, and losing her in such a senseless way, has been awful. It's been about two months now and I still don't feel ready to write. I want to try to write something that would do her justice, but there is no justice in my writing this without getting to talk to her first, to hear what she thinks before I commit myself to words. Even in the most difficult conversations, she could make space for joy.

    For some reason, in the weeks after Tiesha's death, when I couldn't write anything, I though a lot about things she wrote. It seems cold and abstract to remember her writing, but it was something so important to her. She worked so hard, because she wanted to make an impact and knew that she could articulate, analyze, and understand anything if she kept at it. In 10th grade, we had every class together. We proofread everything the other wrote. I still remember what she thought of every book we read for English class, every poem. We did our chemistry project together--we tried to make pop-rocks and jelly beans, failed at that, and tried to cover our tracks with a colorful poster. I don't know how we chose that topic, but I thought about it when one of the speakers at the memorial service said "that little girl could eat!" We worked so hard on our US history papers that year, and talked about them all the time. Talking to her, I always had the sense that we were getting somewhere. Even if we were talking about jellybeans, and even if we weren't getting anywhere, we talked with an intensity that felt like progress in itself. That was the year we became close, but even after we went off to college, we still exchanged papers. When we both had jobs in New York, she volunteered at the adolescent clinic where I worked and wrote an article about accessing healthcare resources there. Searching the web a few weeks ago, I found that she didn't stop. She never said anything to me about it, but she mentioned it on various websites and put up links to the clinic's resources long after I'd left the job. I came across the post on this blog from one of Tiesha's "Aries sisters" and remembered one of my first conversations with her. We were in 7th or 8th grade, I think, and we were in art class. The Brearley art department had a long tradition of giant clown collages as the big project that year, but someone had declared it "The Year of the Woman" and so, as a tie-in, we were making giant woman collages instead. After a few months work, these collages got so big that there was not enough room on the table so students were allowed to take their collage into the hallway to work on in pairs. For some reason, this was a big deal to get to go to the hall, and I was so excited to be in a pair with Tiesha. We got onto the topic of star signs and she asked me what mine was. I told her that I was a Leo, but she got the sense that I didn't know much about star signs. So she explained to me all the traits that Leos have, and all the traits that Aries have, and then she said: "but we can't be friends because we're both fire signs and we aren't a good match." I remember that even though I was angry and disappointed and thought that it was a stupid reason not to be friends, I was almost willing, at that moment, to believe her. She could be so persuasive and confident, and she had this mournful and serious expression on her face. We both sat quietly, staring at our giant collage-women. Then she broke into that wonderful smile and said "I'm only messing." Whenever we argued, though, she'd blame it on our fire signs. She was funny, smart, kind, curious, and a wonderful friend. She had acuity without cynicism, wit without levity, intensity without isolation. She had a focus and warmth that made it a joy to be with her. I will miss her so much and my thoughts are with her friends and family.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Jamillah at July 22, 2006 3:54 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Anna:

    I have read your blog entry over and over again since you first posted it, and I was always so afraid/nervous/sad to write anything back to you. What you wrote is what everyone who knew and loved Tiesha wanted or wants to write. At her memorial I wanted so badly to speak, but words seemed insufficient and painful. So, I kept them in my heart, my mind, and my prayers. My oldest daughter knew her and she prays with me when I pray for answers, for justice, for peace. Tiesha was Tiesha. And I think that her name is the only word we can speak that epitomizes the wonder that she was. She and I became friends at Wesleyan when I was going through a time in my life that was extremely difficult for me to get through. I draw strength and peace from the last time I saw her at my baby shower a few months before her death. She held my daughter, and like you I wanted to take a picture, but the shower was a surprise, so I was without a camera. But the picture, the image, the beauty is vividly emblazoned in my mind. She was a star, something us city folks rarely get to see amongst all the lights and smog. But then, doesn't that truly describe how Tiesha made us all feel? So bright, her brilliance touching more people that I'm sure any of us could ever have imagined.

    I loved her, and she was one of my best friends. We laughed and danced at my wedding, she shared with me the showers and births of both my daughters, and we understood each other.

    We WILL find who did this to her, not that it will make dealing with this any easier - but the person needs to know exactly what they have done. Someone posted about a family member that was killed over $2.38. That type of tragedy has visited my life as well, and the senseless of that death, Tiesha's murder, and my family's pain haunt me.

    I want to applaud you for writing what you wrote and offer the support of another friend of Tiesha's who thought she didn't have the words either.

    I memory of a wonderful person, I say "Sometimes U Make Me Smile"...
    jljohnson05@aol.com

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at July 25, 2006 7:45 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Anna - your piece is extremely moving. The friendship you shared with Tiesha is truly an inspiration. I never knew Tiesha. I accidently read Bob Kolker's piece on a flight home. I was so moved that I searched the internet for more information. It is always tragic when good people are taken so early (and tragically, at that). But I doubt Tiesha will ever be forgotten. My heart goes out to all of you.

  •   Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at December 14, 2006 10:42 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • 7 months to the day and she has not left my mind, heart, nor spirit. I considered the way I felt when my phone rang that Sunday afternoon in May, when my best friend called...how I answered the phone jubilantly, not saying hello, but starting straight off into some joke or another that now is a distant and meaningless string of words I wish I'd never said...how I thought she was laughing, how I laughed too...imagine my surprise when she said "Jen, I'm not laughing...I have really bad news," and how the next three words were ones I'd never dreamed of hearing. "Tiesha. Is. Gone." To know that just 13 hours earlier, she was in her, OUR beloved Brooklyn, being Tiesha, doing Tiesha, and not having a clue that each word she spoke would be the last is unfair, to say the least. Seven months to the day, and I still can close my eyes and see her own; she had this intensity behind her eyes that you kind of felt to your core when she turned them on you. I'd written down my memories of that day when I could finally organize my thoughts in any rational way and I remember devoting time to her eyes. To memories of their attentiveness, how they were kind and fierce, and how they, like my own, could not tell a lie if they wanted to. In my life, she was both a mentor and a friend. She inspired me, challenged my creativity, and supported my decisions. I will never forget the many times we worked together, from late nights in dance studios, to meeting rooms planning conference topics to facilitate-- the votes of confidence she gave me, and how she looked at me, 2 years her junior from a near identical background, with respect and the kind of critical eye that motivated and challenged me to push myself beyond the limitations not only set for me, but those hidden ones she knew I set for myself. For that, I owe her a debt of gratitude beyond which any idyllic news story, or sanctimonious testimony could probably convey. I appreciated her for being another strong, Black woman in a world that counts us out more often than not, but mostly for the fact that she was flawed...perfectly. Love, ALWAYS.

  •   Posted by Blogger Tams at February 27, 2007 5:43 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • anna:

    i am at nyu film school and am trying to gather a few of tiesha's closest friends to do a one-year memoriam for her.

    i met tiesha during the summer '99 through a mutual friend. she was very special and i would be honored to do her cinematic justice. plz contact me at tguishard@gmail.com if you are interested (or just to build.)

    thank you for your blog...

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