How can this have come as a surprise to me? From the day I decided to write this story, I knew Clarence would die. I’ve been planning and researching and writing toward this moment–probably the greatest emotional climax that my story is going to have–for two years. I planted the misinformation of his father’s sickness, I showed his mother where to buy the arsenic, I put his freaking house in order.
It’s a cliche that people say when someone they loved dies: I always thought I’d have more time. Well, I honestly thought I’d have more time. Then suddenly I realized the scene I was writing couldn’t end anywhere but Clarence’s death. I think Twyla and I realized it at the same moment. We both started crying. I almost woke Joshua up with all my sniffling and sobbing.
Clarence Matthews is dead. Somehow the story and the people in it have to move on. Tonight, though, we say goodbye to a man who lived his short life to the fullest and filled every second he could with love and laughter. We’re all better for having known him.