Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Leif Posing With Gun - Age 28 in 2003

Although I have other photos of Leif with weapons (guns, swords) that I'll probably post at some point, I thought I'd finish this series with the photo he took of himself in Manhattan, Kansas in 2003, looking down the sight of one of his pistols, handsome, confident and mesmerizing. This was the photo he chose as his avatar picture on the ZAON forums, though Justin changed it to a photo I particularly liked after he died.

This seems to me to be one of the photos that is clearly part of Leif's identity. It's not the identity I would have wished for him, and he knew that, but I accepted it, and understood that's who he was. I wish he had been able to keep this identity, that sparkle in his eye, that hope.

2003 was a particularly pivotal year for Leif. He graduated from Kansas State University in May, and began working for Sykes that fall. It was there he met the love of his life, and I never saw him as happy as he was during those few short months, just five months, during which he proposed and she accepted, then left and went over a thousand miles away. For a long time, Leif hoped it was a temporary separation, and it was a major blow to him to find that it was not. He never really recovered from that.

Although I wish he hadn't had guns, because he might still be alive if he hadn't been able to so easily carry out a suicide, I still will treasure this photo because it portrays the Leif I loved, vital, rascally, full of life. I miss that man.

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