My senior year at BU was split between two continents. After finishing my junior year (third year) I went back to London where I worked and then stayed to study for one term.
When I returned for my last term before graduation I was lucky enough to find a room in Boston University’s Student Village building with three girls still in their junior years. Leeor, Julie and Tori.
Leeor and Julie lived down one end of our hallway and Tori and I lived on the other. Our rooms were all the size of closets, and small closets at that, but Tori always managed to keep hers immaculately clean. I like to think I’m a tidy person, but Tori’s room got a professional service every day; nothing was ever out of place.
Her dedication didn’t end with her room. She was probably one of the most responsible students I knew, managing to actually NOT go out when she had to read or study instead… what a concept!? She was dedicated to her friends and never had a bad word to say about anyone. She was a peaceful, fun and happy girl who never gave me a reason to frown.
We shared an obsession with the show Lost, especially when ABC decided to put every single season up online for free; we would often sit in our rooms less than five feet apart with a thin wall between us for hours watching episode after episode and running into each other’s rooms to talk about what had happened.
She studied in London when I was there working before heading to Asia, but we never managed to connect in my home city because of our difficult schedules.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in an Internet cafe not unlike the one I’m in now, in Vientiane, Laos surrounded by six of my friends and a few dozen strangers when I received an e-mail from Julie telling me that Tori had mysteriously passed away in her sleep on March 8, 2009 at 21 years old. I didn’t know what to do or think then, and it’s hard to know even now. I wanted to write something to let people know what a great girl she was, but finding the words that don’t sound like every boring cliche you’ve ever heard is difficult.
Perhaps the strangest thing about it all now is occasionally surfing through Facebook and finding her profile still up and running. Her wall has turned into a place for friends to grieve and talk about the things they remember about their time with Tori. It’s given everyone a chance to show their respect and share their stories instead of limiting it to those who were able to speak at the services. Anytime I think of Tori I can go to her profile to see her photos, see what friends have written lately, and maybe one day write something myself.
I know it was a little while ago now and the memorial services have already passed but since I couldn’t be there, here’s my contribution to the things that have been said about Tori Rubino since she left us. I miss her and the part she played in my last months of university. She didn’t deserve to miss out on that herself.