Can I start by saying I was terrified of you?
The snow blows in the wind like headlights seen from a plane. Four wine glasses sit in the sink, lined in last night’s Cabernet. I burned my tongue on the mint tea meant to settle my stomach. There was an avalanche yesterday, and two firemen were shot in New York. Melissa admitted she loved sequins, a secret I share and only reveal on the dance floor, which is where I’ll be on Monday with Alix and Dan and Jennifer and Dan’s twin brother Paul and Sam and lots of people I don’t know. The Moth Radio Hour is playing in the kitchen at my parents’ house. I listen and stop thinking about you for a while. I think your dog’s name was Rosie. I am not sure if she is still alive. You sometimes treated animals more humanely than people. Except for my mother, you loved her wholly, and by extension, us. You swore louder than any other woman I’ve ever met. All the pages of your books smelled of smoke and homemade pastry. Parrots and pigeons waddle around the cigarette butts and tin chairs of an outdoor café at the Plaza del Sol. I sit and eat and understand five words of the couple sitting next to me who even seem to smoke in Catalan. How can thoughts drift between continents? At the Farmer’s Market, you apologized to someone you had long before offended. You died two days later. Once, someone asked, “How do you edit Nadine Gordimer?” You laughed with that rasp of knowledge, delight, betrayal, love and ten too many cigarettes. Which is how you lived your life.
Tasha Graff is a graduate of Bowdoin College and the Bread Loaf School of English. Her chapbook Similarities is available through Finishing Line Press. She lives, writes, walks, thinks about New England and teaches in Barcelona, Spain.