How Existentialism Helped Me Heal After David’s Suicide 11 Years Ago

Skateboarding, hubris, girls and delinquency ruled the care to excel academically. Years of reflecting on his sudden death have broadened how I interpret reality. Our lives have no meaning — it is our job to find its meaning.

Ariel Zorrilla
7 min readAug 23, 2021


Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash.

Monday, Feb. 1st, 2010

It wasn’t a phone call.

Seven or eight in the afternoon, I found out my dear friend David Robinson II took his own life scrolling down my Facebook feed on my Compaq desktop computer. As I stared into the posts, comments and messages confirming the news, all I could think about was Friday.

He joked about girls he’s seen me with, I joked about the popularity I’ve seen him earn. How could it be that it would be the final time I dapped him before walking to the Q train leaving PM school on Ave. M? An avid skateboarder who lived endearing others. I was devastated at what the fuck just happened.

I remember remaining awake late into the night, anxious to go to school the following morning. My closest friends and I at the time mourned his death together with deep sorrow and a list of unanswered questions we still echo in privacy. Consequently, for the first time in my life there was a depth of fear to my continued voyage.

My 18th birthday was in a few days, I was graduating in June and I was aware college will be a hallmark for significant disruption. Although I did my best to mask it, crippling fear plagued my existence for the remaining four months in high school. Graduation was a bittersweet paradox — a symbol of mental perseverance and also a symbol for abandonment of David’s legacy.

To my ignorance, this was the beginning of an 11 year journey of reasoning and self-discovery.


A third of this article has been saved as a draft since last year in reflection of a decade since David’s death — I was no not ready to write about it.

The list of unanswered questioned resurfaced overwhelming thoughts that I continued to make sense of.



Ariel Zorrilla

Dominican-American artist, athlete, and artisanal perfumer from Brooklyn, NY. Ariel’s writing explores life.