we became fast friends from the minute i met her. i can’t tell you exactly when, or where it was, but i can tell you that our first conversation was about the barbican centre in london, where another friend of mine had been in a long-running play. she had been there (i had not) and she said she’d kept a framed watercolor rendering of it from her travels. indeed that water color memory would adorn her future kitchen wall, right above the sink as i recall.
every time i ran into her or was a guest in her home, our conversation was lively and filled with laughter. while other friends were off discussing politics or current events, we’d been there and done that. she and i would rather discuss the beverly hillbillies — intellectually. in fact, she had the entire beverly hillbillies catalogue on VHS, prominently displayed among her many books, dictionaries and other erudite pursuits in print. there was no pedantry with this one. not one iota. and not only was she one of the most intelligent people you could ever meet, she was a master imitator. she entertained me hours on end (mostly to the chagrin of everyone else around us) with her pitch perfect accents and colloquial impressions. she always had a great book open, reading it and simlultaneously participating in the social musings around her – without missing a beat. she was equal parts laundress and yard girl at her home, and neither chore was ever left undone. and she’d point that out to you the minute you walked in, if you didn’t bring it up first.
she never – EVER – lowered herself to petty gossip which swirled about our circle(s) and would cut anyone off from conversation who did (me included – many times). she had no interest in pomp, circumstance, glitz nor glamour. more than anything else i loved about her, she appreciated my appreciation of life’s little things. not too many people actually “get” that. she did. she really did. and she knew i did, too. celebrating the little things, in the littlest of ways, is a precious connection. our friendship was that, without a doubt. but mainly, we shared laughter, friendship’s unbreakable bond. when you can laugh together, about anything and everything, you can get through anything — all the raw deals and disappointments that come with interpersonal relationships — ALL are overcome if you can laugh about yourselves, with yourselves, by yourselves.
the thing is? nobody’s laughing any more. this amazing person who means so much to me, whose friendship i cherished for many years, is losing a battle with alcohol. in fact, i am not even sure she is fighting it anymore. the disease has perhaps conquered her.
today is her birthday. and today, i need a favor from you. do you pray? would you say a prayer for my friend? chant? light a candle for her? wherever your spiritual leanings lie, please ask for her to heal.
i know you don’t know her. but that is why she needs whatever energy you can put out there. NO one knows her anymore. and she is missed.