Before she died, you could hear squeals of delight in her soon to be 50 and fabulous days. We had clashing views because I would continually tell my friend that even though she was not 50 yet, she was already fabulous so stop giving into the border of aging’s narrow confines. Yet, she was not as immersed in the culture of the day as it would have seemed and took life in her own terms.
I started singing the blues when she passed and I blamed myself. She had been going through ripples of transformation and if only I had seen the signs, I could have stretched my reach of help by bringing her to a nurse. It is crazy how we can pay serious attention to everything else in life but our own health.
We used to rely on each other for advice. She sat right next to me at work. I used to tell her all my problems and I would listen to all of hers and we would often behave like kids when laughing out loud at all the oddities we would see around us.
We often say we will not work our lives away until we are too old, but that was our story. We slaved at our desks, went home for the few hours we were there to spend with family and never shutting down for the night because all we would do was think about how much work we did not finish at work, just to turn back around and go back to slave our day away again. We never came away impressed because our days were so mundane. We got excited at the wonderful aroma of finished tasks. We always talked about our goals and the things we wanted to do off the job scene but never got to them and would often aim for another time.
I started singing the blues the day after Independence day weekend when we were all to convene back at our aisles where piles of work persuaded us to sit and not do anything else but type and research. She didn’t show up that day nor the next. The third day, we entered into a different world when she did not show up again and all I remember was receiving a text back after inquiring about her whereabouts when someone else responded with “she is not ready to talk yet.” Not ready? What?
Out across the canal sits a tranquil existence where there is peace beyond knowing. We simply absorb the mysteries of it but she knows it because she lives there. I remember the days she would sit at her desk chanting Bob Marley tunes and now we are here gathered at her living tomb stone where she lies speechless. I remember her easy flowing attitude and her instant search for answers to the pain that suddenly throbbed in her shoulder. Had it captured my attention that it was one of the many signs of a stroke, I could have saved her life. My mind raced ever since with the idea that it was my fault.
I know the value of sleep now because I hardly ever get any. I sit most nights, with wakeful eyes, pouring my heart out into a journal. Perhaps you can say that I have not tried hard enough to close my eyes and drift away into peaceful slumber. Confetti will probably explode into the antiquely dressed oasis that makes up the four corners of my room on the day that sleep finally catches me. The smell of dew in the morning always makes me realize that another day has met me after going sleepless through the night. And I think about how she would wow her audience of coworkers with her stories of St Kitts. So full of laughter she would leave us that the little break from our tasks was like going out for ice cream with sprinkles on it during the course of the arduous workday. But without any explanation, she just never came back and her energy still stays graffitied in our hearts.
Sunglasses perched my nose as I strolled off with my eyes welling from the funeral home. She was on her path with that cool, confident strut she walked with, to the victory in Jesus’ arms in heaven. We were on the path to the office with an empty desk, where she once sat right across from me. No more exchanging pleasantries. She was no longer there. Just a thought and a memory. And I started singing the blues because there would no longer be a break for that ice cream chatter she would have for us to refresh our page. All that was left were broken pieces of the cone, littering through our minds where we would relive the stories in clusters. And a soothing voice came and said, it was her time and it started to appease my mind. As peace took control, the E groove ended. As always, she sent a gift of healing but now, from 50 feet or more fabulous, above. The squeals of delight will never be forgotten.