friends

Gone, Another One

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tina's blog

Even in death, you are most like yourself—swift to flee the ordinary.  I heard the news that you were gone while in the middle of chaos, trapped among the hoi polloi clamoring to fulfill their consumer desires. It was news delivered through the wires, quick as can be, just a few lines of text in a forwarded message. An electronic rumor, as though speed mattered more than fact. My first feeling was numbness, a cold hand clasping my heart. And then, I thought it very apt that news of your leaving us should come through like this, quick and mysterious, like a close-held secret released only to a few, or how very much like you doing  a French leave from a party you’ve deemed ripe for abandonment.

Tina, my friend whose dark, mischievous glance always amused me, I regret not seeing you one last time. It is, perhaps, your design that we do not see you anymore, so that we may remember you as you were, in college: young and beautiful, the smoky voice, those dimples, the long dramatic swish of black hair, legs for miles.

I will miss you, Tina. Our bond was words, the stimulating verbal repartee, witty volleys back and forth that leave us laughing, always laughing.  How we love to poke fun at ourselves—how smart we were, how articulate, how powerful in our ability to cut to the core. And now, even with all the words at my command, I do not feel up to the task of writing about you, so I will stop.

Instead, I will put up this Sylvia Plath poem (she who knows best about cutting to the core), to let that which is out there, the vast but now incomplete universe know how I wish you could have stayed here a little bit longer.

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Denouement

Sylvia Plath

The telegram says you have gone away
And left our bankrupt circus on its own;
There is nothing more for me to say.

The maestro gives the singing birds their pay
And they buy tickets for the tropic zone;
The telegram says you have gone away.

The clever woolly dogs have had their day
They shoot the dice for one remaining bone;
There is nothing more for me to say.

The lion and the tigers turn to clay
And Jumbo sadly trumpets into stone;
The telegram says you have gone away.

The morbid cobra’s wits have run astray;
He rents his poisons out by telephone;
There is nothing more for me to say.

The colored tents all topple in the bay;
The magic sawdust writes: address unknown.
The telegram says you have gone away;
There is nothing more for me to say.

This is the fourth friend I’ve lost to a kidney related illness.  Universe, I get it I get it. Stop hitting already.
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Androphobia, Anyone?

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yellow-taxi.jpg

Just as I closed the taxi door and settled in for the ride, the taxi driver asked me, “Weren’t you afraid, being the only girl waiting there in the long line of men?” I was taken aback, a little, by the question. I did notice that I was the only XX chromosome in the rather dark waiting area, but I didn’t think much about it, and didn’t feel even just a little bit scared.

I mumbled something about, “Oh, they were mostly construction crew from my building…” and the driver nodded, but felt impelled to add, “You can never be too careful, these days.”

Come to think of it, was I ever careless? I pondered that for a while. Despite all that’s happened to me in the past few years, the dire circumstances that have shaped life as I know it now, I still do not fear men. I had to Google that—androphobia—the fear of men. In my former job all my bosses were male, I worked with mostly male counterparts, would walk into a meeting with a roomful of men as the only female, and I liked it when they all scrambled to give me a chair. Men are often intimidated by me, as I am not a fragile looking woman, nor am I in any way, reticent. I have a marked tendency to say what’s on my mind, gender be damned. I’ve had relationships where men resented me because I was “bossy.” Or, my personal favorite, “too strong.”

I have male friends that I’ve known for years who treat me not as one of the guys, but as a girl, who is a friend. There are men I admire and would like to emulate, men who amuse me, men who I can be frank with, flirt openly with, or just quietly sit and have a beer with. They’re males of all kinds—old and young, single, married, or in some sort of relationship, old friends and newer ones—who treat me with respect, and I dare say, some measure of fondness. So, no, I am not afraid of men in general.

But hey wait, should I be?