“What is it?” His voice sounded so serious on the phone that I rushed right over after class.

“Nothing, just… Come on inside.” He leads me downstairs and I sit on the couch, tense and unnerved. Jeremy almost never worries – certainly not about me – and I think it must be something truly horrible for him to be watching me with such care.

He takes a seat across the room and rubs his forehead. “Douglas Adams is dead.”

My jaw drops. Words come out. Lots of incoherent syllables and, then, “No. Can’t be. It has to be a mistake.”

“Hun, he died of a heart attack.” Jeremy stands up, takes a half step towards me, and then changes his mind. He doesn’t like emotion and my face is full of it.

“But – but he’s only 49. It’s gotta be a different Douglas Adams.” The note of desperation, small and trembling, in my voice is slightly pathetic. Jeremy shakes his head. “He’s really dead?”

Jeremy nods and I burst into tears.

After awhile, after the torrent subsides, Jeremy lets me sit on his lap as I scroll through a news story he bookmarked for me. A black and white photograph of Douglas smiles up at me and my heart feels like it’s breaking a little bit. “There’ll never be another book,” I whisper and the words feel heavy.*

There will never be a line I haven’t read before – something new to underline and memorize. Douglas Adams is dead and all I can do is stare at the screen in disbelief.

In the interest of disclosure: this post was written before the announcement of And Another Thing‘s publication. I recalled it this morning –walking along and wondering if I’d ever be able to read a Hitchhiker’s book not penned by Douglas Adams–and decided to repost it here.