He was tall, blond, stunningly good-looking. An ex student of a famous and expensive school, he was studying the combined degree of arts- law. My self-estimation rose when I knew him well enough to have a fleeting chat: I would never have dared aspire to more.
Then he deliberately shot and killed himself.
For the first time I recognised that there could be a vast difference between outward appearance and internal life, although I was a master of this myself...who isn't, at 19?
For the next x years, a suicide brought on - I saw this in others, as well as myself - the thoughts of what could I have done: why was I so blind: if I had only, etc etc. even of people known only peripherally.
But David died around 1960. In the early 1990s here, suicides became so frequent - several mothers, but mainly teenagers - that one didn't question them, or wonder, and their peers normalised and minimised it as "he topped himself". "Topping"? Why that word? The old Vietnam -era word of "wasting" seems more appropriate to me, about these sad children.
David's suicide made headlines on page 3 of national newspapers. Was youth suicide then so rare? Later, it became encoded in the death notices. "18 years old. Died of natural causes." Ah. Despair. A natural cause of death. RIP babes.