I squint at the screen as if my eyes had deceived me. No, I’m, reading it right. Pius died in a car crash. He was 53.
Flash back to three years ago when I was
I’m back to my e-mail screen. I try to find my e-mail to him and his response. I can’t. My mind wanders. I am disgusted. His death is just too ironically devastating for words.
I re-focus. I re-read Lauren’s e-mail. I take a deep breath. I repeat Pius’s name in my head. I run downstairs. I have to find that book. Damn, I can’t find it! I’m ashamed then frantic. I know I have it here somewhere. It has traveled three continents. It’s a talisman of sorts. Flashback. It’s 1993. I am leaving CPJ. I write to all my contacts and announce my departure. A few weeks later I receive a package at my home. It’s from Pius. It’s a book called Bonjour Tristesse (Hello Sadness). On the opening page, he thanks me for all the work I did on his behalf. For my compassion. He says he admires the independent, strong women that I am.
Did I ever thank Pius and tell him how much receiving that book and his words meant to me?
Kim Brice worked at CPJ from 1988 to 1993. She is a freelance consultant working on media freedom and other political and social rights issues.