Après elle le déluge: Remembering Becca Darling

Photo courtesy Siena Oristaglio

There was a girl.

There has never been and will never be a girl like this girl.

Becca Darling — Becca Rosenthal, or Slug, as I knew her — was my best friend.

The worst phone call of my adult life, or of any life, ever, is the phone call I received on October 23 at noon from Noah Blumenson-Cook. Noah is the man that Becca’s father called when he found his 27-year-old daughter lifeless in her bed on Tuesday morning.

I had been corresponding online with Becca until late at night on Monday. There had been a leak in the plumbing of her house, and she had to come home (to her parents’ home, where she lived) to make sure that everything was okay.

I asked her if everything was okay.

Everything was okay.

“But,” she wrote, “it’s kind of boring. A guy’s coming to fix the leak tomorrow. I wish that the leak had been coming from an ancient Victorian attic room for a child that never existed that none of us ever knew was there.”

“It’s okay,” I wrote. “We’ll make sure to have that room in our house someday.”

“Phew,” she wrote.

Becca was the unseen influence behind art. When she loved art, she didn’t just appreciate it, she became a part of it. She showed up and wouldn’t leave until her idols were her best friends. Her art was connecting the dots. She dove into the Internet and surfaced holding pearls of music that only a dozen people even knew about. She found Amanda Palmer, whose house she invaded — the house where she and I found Noah, where she became as essential as the air or the walls or the windows. She found Florence and the Machine, she found Regina Spektor (and befriended her instantly), she found Marina and the Diamonds, she found Basia Bulat and Lykke Li. She could spend two hours with a computer and give you a list of 10 bands. Two years later, you would hear five of them on the radio, and the other five would be opening for them on tour. She was the Factory girl for the entire world.

When she spoke with you, you had her undivided attention, and she demanded yours. This was easy to give to her, because you were already in love with her. You would make a secret language together that was part Parisian slang, part quotes from Parker Posey movies, and part Jenny Holzer truisms. You would start saying the same thing at the same time. You would be perfectly in sync. You would have breakfast with her, and she would invite someone else, and all three of you instantly shared that language. You now had another person you would call your friend for the rest of your life.

She lived as a pastiche of everything and everyone she loved. She would tell your own quips and sayings back to you, and you didn’t realize they were yours until she had already taken ownership of them. They fit better on her anyway. She had unseen darkness that she would only ever give you glimpses of. You tried to fix this sometimes, to give back what she gave you, but she would never, ever let you. She loved you so much that you felt it all around you, every day — when you heard a song on the radio or saw a pink crinoline dress or when someone started telling you about this amazing band they just found that you’d already known about for months because of her.

On Saturday, we buried Becca, but Becca will never die. Her love will stay in the world forever. Most people won’t ever know it’s there, but if you ask, anyone who knew her can show you.

That night, her closest friends, wearing cheap-ass light-up Viking hats, held a Viking funeral on the Charles River. We wrote a secret or a lie on a small slip of paper and dropped these secrets and lies in an empty shoebox (for the fabulous gold-tipped shoes that I bought to wear to the funeral). We doused the box in gasoline. We set it alight and set it free.

Please write a secret or a lie for Becca during this storm, and set it free. One of the most moving e-mails I’ve received in the astronomical outpouring of love that’s followed her death is from a friend, who wrote, saying, “I love you. Because the world is preparing to float away? No. Because I do.”

So, as the world prepares to float away:

Love your people

Love your people

Love your lovers

Love your family

Love yourself

Après elle le déluge.

And Becca, Darling (slug moosh beecharmer tallulah shiny sherpa shekel boopie sandy fishnets et. ALL), know, forever, that we are all
going down together.


--by Siena Oristaglio with Noah Blumenson-Cook

Read Becca's music blog at

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