Friday, September 21, 2012

Missing Person Report

It's been a long time, a really long time, since I've posted. Somehow when I think of writing, I just feel like writing about LK. My randomly assigned college roommate, she became my best friend. The one who drove all night from Maine to Hoboken when my first and only daughter was born. We were maid-of-honor in each other's weddings. Though from the outset we felt like an unlikely match, we discovered that we could just feel comfortable with each other even if doing nothing, that we somehow "got" each other despite many differences. Maybe that makes her a kind of soulmate?

I don't want to be maudlin and depress people who might read this, and I don't want to overshare on very personal matters, but... (read: That's exactly what I'm going to do here.).

A year ago yesterday, my friend died at age 36, after saying good-bye over the previous weeks in her hospital bed to her husband, her two little girls, her parents and siblings and friends.

She's still the one I have an urge to e-mail or call when something happens. I think of her all the time; for example:

- When the seasons change.
When spring and then summer rolled in this year, and I hauled my daughter's warm-weather clothes up from the basement, I missed her. Many cute items were presents from LK, a children's-clothes connoisseur with a nose for sales, or they were hand-me-downs from her older daughter. This is the last year that will be the case, I guess. LK loved the seasonal changes of wardrobe, especially to cheerful spring colors and then to cute or flowy or strappy or rainbow-colored summer dresses.

- When the air gets crisper in autumn.
When the air was chilly, but the sun would heat the top of your head while outside or your forearms while driving, LK loved to pack up her pro-camera and go apple picking with the gang, or browse pumpkins at a farm store outside of Boston. She showed me how to cook applesauce with delicousness that one doesn't normally associate with applesauce. (Apple cider and honey are the secret ingredients that stuck with me.)

- When bright uniforms and flags of red, white and blue stream down Main Streets all over America.
The founding fathers didn't mean for the 4th of July to have a preppy flair, but LK appreciated that aspect of it. A child of New England, she always felt cheered by the holiday's patriotic Americana.

- When I do the laundry, especially if I toss in a Color Catcher.
An intellectual who also had an insatiable appetite for a certain vein of pop culture, she was an avid reader of Consumer Reports. She had devoured all available research on the optimal way to do laundry, down to water temperature and top-rated products. Also, she was addicted to ironing. (I told you we were different in a lot of ways, didn't I?!) Many a time when we hung out, chatting in person or on the phone, she would be ironing.

- When her tween daughter sends me a message in totally teeny text-speak.
I picture her trotting through middle school, which she started while her mom was in the hospital for the last time. I imagine her helping her little sister get a snack after school, maybe. My friend's daughters, two little blondies, are both chock full of personality - a bit like their mom. I wonder (a little anxiously even - for my friend's sake, because I never was a clothes horse) what her girls are wearing for school pictures.

- When I see professional photographs of families or children.
LK learned photography with her typical zeal after her first daughter was born. Her sharp eye honed right in to critique other work or learn from it. Catchlights visible? Family members wearing clashing clothes?

LK shot so many gorgeous portraits of my daughter as a little one, and my young daughter's big smiles at our dear friend behind the camera were genuine.