It was at a Panera in St. Louis. We sat down with soup and sandwiches and they had put ice in your water, even though you had asked them not to. I reached over, mid sentence, and using my fork, fished the ice cubes out, before you asked, or needed a sip.
Valentines day prep started weeks before for you. I seem to remember you cutting tissue hearts in a pink tutu, but maybe that was a dream? My room was flowers and petals. Homemade trufflles on foiled plates in the fridge. Barbie pink raincoat, sometimes there was no time for laundry day and so you went commando and flashed somebody.
I know, I know, you belong, to somebody new, but tonight, you belong to me, just to little old me. Little planner, post-it tabs, always sunglasses, Vaseline on lips, black dress, white polka dots, jean jacket. Waking up like a zombie after death, gasping, choking. Oxygen bar, you could keep your nasal cannula and bring it the next time, soups in partially opaque Tupperware. Coffee and dancing.
Your perfect hair was not easy to make. Straightened while reading for classes, then a night of good dancing. white wife beater, flared jeans, rosary beads, copper rings, green skin.
No set, just curtains, one spotlight. Huge eyes, a female Oliver Twist, did you have your head covered or was it your character that made you so meek? You were perfect for the role, and I knew then it was your vocation and happiness.
If it looked better on me, you gave me the dress. Forget me not blue, I wore it to see him off to Iraq, because you made me go, because you said, he's your best fried, and what if he died? You picked me up when I came back, and we walked along the river, and I told you I missed him. You helped me get my homecoming dress, the dress to my MFA show, and my wedding dress. You had dry hands and you left blood on half a dozen dresses before we realized what happened.
A box of yellow long stemmed roses. To those I wish were here. A perfect surprise ruined by a lost purse. Pearson International Airport, at a bar with a baby, poutine, and supersonic screeching. Intimate stage in the round, every syllable and dance step was yours. Your mother's dining room table, Egyptian embroidery, friends and family. We started with the question, did he love her, and kept asking more. It was you and your play that kept the discussion going for hours, but you thanked me for coming and asking the questions.
I expect friends to fall away when I fly away. You are my best friend because when I acted on these expectations, you flew to see me. Yelling, you made me talk, made me look, made me write. When it wasn't convenient. We show up when it matters, and we know the other one will sacrifice to be a friend. Silver filigree earrings, once a ring, and now a pendant on a chain, always with you.