Margarita Korol, whose bold, evocative art often illustrates Tablet stories, has been a longtime member of the Tablet family. Even when she moved to Chicago last year, she remained an important part of our extended team of collaborators. She’s written an article for Oy!Chicago that so perfectly encapsulates her spirit—fearless and hopeful even in the face of strange and unexplainable adversity—that I wanted to share it with our readers on this Valentine’s Day.
In it, she describes an afternoon with a new love interest that goes sharply awry.
It was humorously idyllic before it hit us. We were holding hands, strolling through Lakeview side streets, hopping across elevated tree beds, even running through sprinklers, soaking up the warm last moments of September sunshine. We were giddy and high from each other’s company—we would say that the positive energy emanating off of us could be seen from space. And then, as we were crossing Diversey, we were flying. It wasn’t love that suddenly hit us, but a Dodge Charger. And we fell, madly.
You can read the full piece here—it has a happy ending, I promise.
The incident, which required Margarita to undergo surgery on both her knees, was a trauma both physical and acutely emotional. Margarita wrote candidly in Tablet about the loss of her younger brother, Eli, who died in the summer of 2011 when her father’s car was hit by a semi-truck during a family trip to Yosemite National Park (her father, stepmother, and other brother survived the accident).
Over the next year, I began to accept the reality that this was not a dream from which I would awaken. Eli was gone. I found little solace in that acceptance, though—no comfort in knowing that such an accident was common on that stretch of highway in Fresno, no relief in my intellectual understanding that there was never any safety net to keep those dear to me safe. Even with my rational grounding in the simple acceptance of that reality, it seemed an impossible challenge to figure out how to move forward with my life. Should I keep doing what I’ve been doing day to day, living in New York and working as an artist? Should I drop everything and move closer to the family in California? I felt lonely at home but knew I should stay and try to be productive; then I felt selfish for being far from the family and berated myself for that. I didn’t know what to do. I only knew that I was alone in my grief.
We’re wishing Margarita, whose wide circle of friends, fans, and supporters ensures she’s never truly alone, the best of luck with her recovery.
Related: Two Deaths, One Answer