We first met through an old-fashioned television screen. You were a flash of white fabric through pixelated stars that blurred at the edges, bleeding into colours. Eyes on you. I watched you bite back when your home planet was blown up. I watched as the angry girl was allowed to develop into a woman of power, compassion, and conviction. I cringed for both of you when they made you wear that awful metal bikini.
To me, you were Leia first, chronologically, if nothing else—and if you were here, I’d reassure you that you are more. Leia was there in the clothes I wore in college, when I dyed my hair green and got up at five every morning to get to classes and worked a weekend job, all with a smear of glitter across my face.
It was you that caught me when I didn’t feel as brave. “What would Carrie Fisher do?”, because Leia isn’t real, and you’re nothing but. You’d seen shit, and when I was a flash of fabric passing through shit, I knew you had my back. I think of you when I’m sick, as not an inspiration, but a friend who would know, a friend on the phone:
‘I can’t feel my legs’
‘that’s just the start‘
‘stay on the line?‘
‘sure, we’ll chat shit‘.
I think of you when I’m happy, and I’d want us to share it. When I take my pills every morning I hear ‘here we go again’ out of your mouth. Because I think that’s what you were, a friend – what made you perfect is that you weren’t, because nobody is. You are an icon.You say ‘fuck’ when you’re not supposed to. I remember discussions of bipolar, thinking ‘Carrie Fisher’s got that’, and realising everything felt a little lighter. Like I could say ‘fuck’ too, quite loudly.
It feels as if I’m writing this to a friend, and it starts to feel wrong; it feels so indulgent to assume that we’re these kindred souls when I never even knew you, but so often we overlap, as if we’re one and the same when I’m drowning in my bed or my brain is walking on the moon.
Go with peace, princess. You know, I felt closest to you when I heard you’d passed: my cousin came upstairs, thirteen but oddly prim and proper, a boy who wore a pocket watch in 2016. Through tears I said ‘Carrie Fisher’s dead’, and he said ‘Oh, shit.’ Nobody would imagine he was able to swear. That’s how I knew you’re still about.