Andre was a vegetarian.
And he wanted you to be a vegetarian too.
He posted numerous images and videos to remind his many social media followers that what we eat had a face – and suffered to get to our plates.
Now I don’t want you to think he was some humorless zealot.
Far from it.
He had a cheeky side.
He was a big advocate of taking a day off every now and then to goof off, to just do whatever the hell you wanted, even if it meant lying around the house reading magazines.
A CrossFit devotee, he loved working out and posted videos of some of his routines.
He won scores of fans with his shirtless pics. On Instagram, he had over 260,000 followers.
Married with a husband, he liked to tease, posing for a selfie, his eyes averted, some key prop hiding his essentials.
Oh, yeah, he was an attractive man, but it never seemed like his reason for being on social media.
Andre was found dead last week in the vegan restaurant he owned in Barcelona.
He was 40 years old.
There were bruises on his body, but none of the injuries were life-threatening. Police declined to speculate on the cause of death or even if foul play was involved pending the results of an autopsy.
A cell phone and a cash register are missing.
And just like that Andre is gone, no more posts about why it’s right to be a vegetarian or fitness videos or shirtless pics or just that beautiful, bashful grin.
I never met Andre. I probably never would have met Andre. I can’t pretend that I knew him beyond whatever you can glean from Instagram or Facebook, where we all put our best faces forward.
His death reminds me how much of a cheat social media is. It gives you an illusion of intimacy, a whiff of closeness. How well do we know anyone out here in cyberspace?
… and yet I still grieve.
I mourn the loss of someone whose presence became, for a time, a welcome part of my life.