Thanks to everyone for your condolences. Not to make this about myself, but this is a pretty difficult time for me. I also lost two aunts this summer, and I think I'm getting the cumulative effects of all that grief hitting me at once. I'm not normally one to cry over real life. Movies, books, the theater (I seldom stay dry-eyed during a live stage performance), Kodak commercials and the like leave me sobbing in hysterics, but I generally go all stoic and dry-eyed for funerals. This time, though, I've been crying for real, probably catching up on all those dry-eyed funerals. I'm also feeling a little abandoned and alone. First one of my closest friends had to move away for work a few years ago, then another just announced she was moving away after the holidays, and now I've lost another good friend in a more permanent way. Being paid to have lots of cool imaginary friends is nice, but real-world friends are also important.
Yesterday I baked chocolate cookies, and then I decided to put up those Christmas decorations I'd thought I'd just wait and deal with next year. There's no guarantee there will be a next Christmas, so I might as well go for it and take all the joy I can. The lights and garlands around my loft and stair railings make me happy. They're also the decorations I can see from my office. Then I started re-reading one of my favorite Wendy Holden books that I know will make me laugh. The heroine will overcome all the awful people in her life to get her just reward, and the rich, obnoxious witch will get what's coming to her. Life generally doesn't work like that, but it's very satisfying when it happens in books.
I promise not to spend the rest of the week being all moody, but indulge me for one more day. We were asked to share memories for a scrapbook that's being put together, and I decided I might as well share these openly while I'm writing them.
So, things I remember about my friend Rosa:
1. She loved clothes and shoes, possibly even more than I do, and she loved dressing up. That meant if I was at a party with her, I could dress up as much as I wanted to without worrying about being overdressed because at least one other person would also be dressed up. When we went to Austin together, we actually counted to see which one of us brought the most pairs of shoes. I just had to throw things in the trunk of my car, but she'd flown from Chicago to Dallas and still matched me. When I went to Chicago for the Browncoat Ball and she just had to throw things in the car, I really got to see how she could pack for an occasion.
2. She also loved finding pretty things on eBay, and if it turned out that the sizing for an item wasn't quite as advertised, I think she got as much joy out of giving it to someone it did fit as she would have out of wearing it herself. Because of this, I have a pretty red floral silk ruffled blouse in my closet. I'll have to find a book-related event to wear it to next year so she can be there with me in spirit.
3. She didn't sleep nearly as much as I do, so when we roomed together, she'd be up hours later than me, but then also be up much earlier in the morning. During the Browncoat Ball, one morning she couldn't sleep, so she got up and ran into a bunch of other early risers at the nearby Dunkin Donuts. Just as I was waking up and preparing to face the day, she came back to the hotel room with a donut for me for breakfast so I wouldn't have to go out in search of food.
4. When we went to Austin, she wanted to get postcards for the people who weren't able to go to that gathering, so one afternoon when I was giving her the grand tour of UT, we went up and down the Drag looking for good postcards. We finally found an interesting selection at the Barnes & Noble. Then in spite of the fact that I helped her pick out cards, let her use my B&N card to buy them at a slight discount, she wrote and addressed the cards in our hotel room and finished them in my living room, and then she mailed them from my neighborhood post office, with me being the one to put them in the box (since it was on the driver's side of the car), she still managed to surprise me by sending one of the cards to me.
5. She didn't drink, but she still was usually the happiest, giggliest, bounciest person at any party, no matter how much anyone else drank.
And now I'm going to bake more cookies to bring to my family for Christmas (yes, I'll get to the bread tomorrow, Mom, but that's just for us. The cookies are for the cousins.). My Christmas cactus is now blooming, like it does every year. Life goes on.