She was the person who you went to the restaurant with, and braced yourself for when it was her turn to order:
"I'd like the pork chops with the mango chutney and rice. Oh, but instead of the rice could I have polenta? And I really don't like mango--do you think you could have them make some sort of lemon sauce instead? And can you change the pork to chicken?" As she ate the inside of the french bread, leaving only the crusts for the rest of us.
She once asked me to take a picture of her that she could use on a dating site. We drove down to Big Sur. I would start to photograph her, and about every three frames she would grab the camera to see what I was getting. It took about 1000 shots before there was something she liked (see below). As I say, exasperating.
She spent a lot of weekends up here before I met Malida. She would take the train up on a Friday afternoon and I would pick her up and we would go grocery shopping for the weekend. We always had a big dinner on Saturday night with our other friend, the writer. Sunday mornings I would make scones and we would take a walk in the park before I took her back to the train station. In between we would talk and watch movies.
She kept me from getting too lonely. After I started dating again, I would call her after my dates to talk about what went on. She always had the most interesting questions. She was thrilled when I met Malida, and they eventually met and became friends.
She moved to Guam about 5 years ago to care for her aging parents, but would come back about once a year. We got together every year when she was home, usually around this time of year. Her mom died last year and she was making plans to come back for good.
We last saw her in January of this year. We had a lovely visit and lunch at a Tapas place in Mountain View.
This afternoon I was going to call her to see when she would be back so we could make some plans. Before I called, I googled "giant baby head". That was an inside joke we had. I was going to send a picture to her Facebook, which she rarely checked or maintained. I couldn't find it, and googled her name. What I found was an announcement for a "Celebration of Life" for her, coming up in two weeks. I contacted her friend and found out that she died in October, in Guam, cause unknown. She was 53. I've been thinking about her all afternoon.
The only thing I truly own
I can never touch or hold
No it’s buried in this body waiting for its day to go on home
But listen to your heart
And it will lead you through the dark
‘Cause somewhere in you
Burns a light lit by some eternal spark