It was just last month I called my friend Dorothy and suggested lunch. Could I bring it up to her apartment in Hyde Park? A little Champagne to accompany, perhaps?
Of course, dahlink, said she, but I'm taking some pesky drugs so best skip the bubbly.
It would be our last lunch together. Last of hundreds, I'd guess, over our 28 years of friendship, starting the day we met at AMA, adjoining offices, laughter, and all that good food cementing our bond. She was elegant, she was smart, and she always gave us too much credit for being a part of her beautiful daughter's life.
"It takes a village," she'd say.
She had the most extraordinary carriage--head high, posture perfect. And a voice so skillfully modulated and grammatically perfect that I always stood up straighter in her presence, using my best vocab. Even the multiple myeloma that robbed her spine of its strength couldn't bend her.
See what I mean?
That last day we had lunch--how she fussed! Wasn't the fizzy lime water the perfect toast, the modest amuse of salted peanuts just the thing to begin our meal. My lemon chicken with creme fraiche? The best thing she'd ever tasted and the plum cake extraordinary, to be shared with her nurses immediately.
When the Oxycontin kicked in, we talked some more, racing to say...everything? In our best Virginia Wolff stream-of-consciousness conversation we might have even got close.
So tired, said she. And I must run--work to do, I lied. We double kissed and I made my departure, fighting tears until I reached the park across from the museum.
How easy she made it. How rich my life has been for knowing her.