Even When You’ve Lost Touch With Old Friends Who’ve Died
I haven’t kept up with my college friends. Although I adored them at the time, they represented a painful epoch in my life. Sometimes I’d google their names just to see where they were and how they were doing. But like viewing old photographs in an album, I’d soon turn the page. It’s not a time period I enjoy revisiting. However, I got a Facebook message from an old friend, alerting me of the sudden death of one of our old gang: Her former lover and my former friend. I was shocked at the level of my grief on hearing the news. It cut me deeply and made me draw my breath sharply. As if I had never really made peace with that time period and this was now a sharp reminder of how quickly life goes by.
She was amazingly talented — graphic designer, artist, majoring in the arts department of our university. A physical composite of Madonna and Marilyn Monroe meets hand-me-down LL Bean, but she forged her own fashion way. We all ran together back in that small college town. I was in awe. She was adorably blond in a white bread manner. I couldn’t relate through the lens of my ethnic background. So, I just admired her from afar. Until one day I got my marching orders:
“Take care of her for me.” Her long distance girlfriend commanded. “Sleep there with her if you have to, but she gets squirrelly if she’s left alone too long.”
So I obliged. It wasn’t arousing to sleep next to her. We cuddled in sisterly fashion. Neither of us were attracted. I was more in awe of her and her artistic way. She was masterful. She could make any doodle come alive. There wasn’t an idle moment she wasn’t creating something whimsical and fun using a pen or even a styrofoam cup. I didn’t understand it. I was way too right brained, analytical and square. I just watched her animate life with her creations and her matter of fact narration about what she was creating.
Having an excuse to sleep next to her at her apartment got me off campus. Dorm life was so constricting. To stay in a drafty, rented abode miles from campus…