Monday, September 11, 2006
you are one in a million and i love you so...
Originally uploaded by mamazilla1972.
ever since september 10, 1993, the month of september is like a passive aggressive, drama obsessed, acquaintance that i can never really rid myself of. i think to myself, "ok, i think that was the last time i'll talk to him/her." and then, a week or a month, or a year or so later, i'll get an email or a voicemail that's supposed to "catch me up" on this person's latest news. and something akin to guilt or duty, will force me to open the email and read it or listen to the voicemail and actually save it - i may even be tempted to respond.
i get into this melancholic fog in september, it never fails. and i try in vain to find something - a project, a person, a book - to act as a metaphorical lighthouse, or at the very least, an interim distraction, and nothing really works. i eventually come to the realization that i just have to ride it out. mid month, i comfort myself weakly, "it could be worse, september could be 31 days long, instead of 30".
13 years ago, my best friend, andra brubaker, and her sister, erika, were killed in a car accident.
andra and erika were exceptional people. they were beautiful people. i've never met anyone like them since and i doubt i will ever again. i consider myself one of those "blind squirrels" who scurries around in vain, but every once in a while finds a nut. in high school, i lucked out and found these two. and as faithful a catholic as i pretend to be, i secretly pray for reincarnation. i pray that they've been reincarnated, somewhere next door.
i remember when i found out the paloma was a girl. i would hold my belly and hope. i gave her "andra", as a middle name, just in case. i listen to the paloma's earnest conversations with her friends hoping to hear a little voice say, "cool beans!" or "don't be such a pifflehead".
i'll never forget the last time i saw her. we were both 21. she was planning on attending garrett that fall and had gotten an apartment. while we wandered around in evanston, which we did a lot, she pointed out the apartment building where she would be living. i remember her telling me that she and her mother had bought some basic necessities, dishes, cookware, etc. i was living in chicago, still attending columbia college. eventually it was time to go home. i had to take the L, but she could take a bus back to des plaines. before she got on the bus, she told me that she was going to be driving to ohio with erika to visit her grandmother for grandparents day. but, she'd call me when she got back. i remember thinking we should do something special for her birthday on the 27th. she waved goodbye to me from the back of the bus as it turned the corner. i never saw her again.
i was home and the phone rang and i heard her mother's voice. i immediately thought something was really wrong, then quickly switched gears & scolded myself into thinking, maybe she's just calling to tell me she's planning a surprise for andra's birthday. but, i was right, she was gone. on their way to ohio, there was an accident and they died instantly. i got off the phone and rode empty trains all night. i just didn't want the roaring in my ears to stop.
i miss andra terribly. i miss her so much on some days, i just lie down on the floor and consciously talk myself through breathing. i miss getting the long letter w/ the doodle filled margins & the same closing, "be careful, be good, be nice" safely tucked in a whimsically illustrated envelope in the mail. i miss the quick random late night phonecall. i miss her humorous and wise counsel and her optimism, tempered with a pinch of doom & gloom.
almost everyday, there is something i want to tell her, something i need to ask - foolish things that only she would understand, could explain and/or relate to with parables or jokes with punchlines that i could never predict.
deep down, i worry that maybe if andra was alive today, we wouldn't be friends now. i am not who i was thirteen years ago. i'm not who i was 9 months ago. i worry that maybe we would have grown apart like other friends who have quietly and slowly disappeared into the distance. but, i'm pretty sure we would have found a way. even when i knew her, she was an enigma. i knew most of her likes and dislikes; she favored the colors green and purple, she liked to read john irving, eat orange scones, drink chamomile tea, listen to roxy music or prince and play with cats. whenever i question how well i knew her, i remember that one of her ex-boyfriends nicknamed me "andra's left arm".
all in all, i think andra would be happy with how my life turned out. she'd be a wonderful loving aunt to the paloma and the porkchop. and after forgiving my husband for his past trespasses, she would come to love him and roll her eyes at him too. i owe so much to andra, i can't justify how much or frame it with words. i'm a better and happier human being because of her. i love myself and passionately love others because of the unconditional love she showed me. she changed my life and my perspective and shaped so much of who i am. and it's because oh her that i can get up out of the bed, every morning of september 10.
i'm always thinking of you andra, and i'll always try to find you in the crowd.