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Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:

Running on Empty

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix

November 10, 1998

Hi,

This may seem a bit strange, but I don’t really know that well where to start. So, I’ll introduce myself first. My name is Brenda, I'm twenty-three and live in Belgium. I just visited your site about River and I still feel a bit confused. But I'd better tell you the whole story about the role River has played (and always will) in my life.

I was about fourteen when I first heard the name River Phoenix. I was in high school and one of my friends was a big fan of him. She weekly bought some German magazine which had a lot of information on River in it. She became a fan after seeing Running on Empty and one day, she showed me his picture. At first, I just saw him as a cute guy, but that changed after I had seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I can't really explain why, but I felt attracted to River in some way or another and I wanted to know everything about him. The only problem was that River was not that well known in Belgium yet, so it was pretty difficult to get hold of his previous movies. This went on for like two-three years, I became older and there were more interesting things to do than think about River. I got my own boyfriend, and banished River out of my life.

On October 31, 1993, I heard on the evening news that River was dead. I immediately knew that my life would never be the same anymore. I can’t even explain what I felt when I heard about his death, it still hurts. My first reaction was one of grief and sadness, but that turned into anger later on. I was (and still am) so angry with all those people who knew that he took drugs, but didn’t do anything to stop it.

Most of my friends didn't understand why River's death had impressed me so much. "Why do you cry for him, you didn't even know the guy?" And that's true, I didn't know him. But sometimes, I had the feeling that I understood him. It's now five years ago, and until today, there is no-one who has had a bigger influence on me than River. I learned a lot from him, and I'm thankful for that. Surfing through your River-tribute site made me realise more than ever before that I'm not the only one. It made me happy to know that there are lots of others who will never forget him.

I'm twenty-three now, the same age as River was when he died, and for a couple of months I have worked as a volunteer in a centre for young drug addicts. It's tough sometimes, but at least I have the feeling that I'm doing something. I just talk to those people and the stories you hear can be horrible but I want to hold on to my promise. After his death, I promised River that I would do anything to make sure that he didn't die for nothing. By helping these young people, I can try to avoid them dying the same senseless death that River did. And this does help me a lot.

Nevertheless, when I lie in my bed at night, I ask myself the same question over and over again: "WHY?"

Thank you very much for keeping River's memory alive. I’m sure he still lives in the mind and the heart of all of his fans, who will never forget him.

Luv and take care,

Brenda
Belgium


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