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Eulogy for Melissa McFarland

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I'm writing this to honor my friend, Melissa McFarland, who died earlier today, so it seems appropriate to begin by writing about the first time I knew we'd be friends. I'm sure that if she were here, she'd tell me I was remembering this all wrong. Memory is fallible and subjective, especially when a couple decades have passed and the one doing the remembering was blind drunk, so some of the specifics of this story may be inaccurate. But the essential truth of it is intact.

Sometime around the year 2000, I was having a terrible night. I don't remember exactly why. Maybe it was some long-forgotten relationship drama. There was a lot of that going around back then. Maybe there was nothing in particular wrong, and I'd just had too many bourbon-and-cokes. There was a lot of that going around, too. Whatever the reason, I was hammered and alone, staggering down the street in Five Points, the nightlife district of Columbia, South Carolina, where we were both in gradua…