I was already having a bad day. You know the kind...anything that can go wrong, does so in spades. How could that be? I had found a four-leaf clover just the day before.
(Please be impressed with that photo. I have taken a couple of photography-in-the-garden classes recently, and putting the brown leaf behind the green clover for emphasis was something I learned.)
Anyway, I knew if I just kept plugging along, I'd make it through the quicksand that was my Wednesday...eventually. Hang in there. One foot in front of the other. Eyes on the prize. You know the drill.
Only, that's not how it worked out. It got worse...much, much worse. I learned that my college suite-mate had died quite suddenly and unexpectedly that day. She was a seemingly healthy Mom and grandmom, who had just returned from the gym when she collapsed in her kitchen. The paramedics couldn't revive her. And, as of today, there is no news on what happened. How? Why? So many questions...absolutely no answers.
I can only describe how I feel as stunned. LFC was a month younger than I am, and by all appearances, in much better condition. It hurts...mentally as well as physically...to think about it.
F was a friend from my freshman year at (then) Mississippi University of Women. Born in Las Vegas, she hailed from Gulfport. She was adopted...and fortunate to have two extremely loving and caring parents. She was tall, thin, athletic, and pale blonde. And the first person I had known personally who could sing and play guitar. Not a star-type person...just a regular person, who was as talented as they come.
The year we met was the year Carole King's Tapestry was released. There was a copy...or two...in every room on the second floor of Callaway Hall. Vinyl...cassettes...8-track. You name it, we played it...day and night. I know Aretha had made "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" a huge hit in the 60's after King wrote the song...but, when I hear the tune playing in my head, it's Carole King singing it.
And when I think of F, she's singing and playing "You've Got a Friend," an all-time favorite song from Tapestry, where James Taylor joins King for that track. Special request for that song, probably by me. Love(d) that song. Loved hearing F singing it. Love, love, love the memories.
We went through pledging and Hell Night together. We sang "Bond Eternal" ("Bonnie Turtle") together, wore ugly pink-and-silver dresses together, and became Rosettte sisters forever together. And through it all, she sang and played her guitar.
F asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, and she served in ours. She even tried her hand at matchmaking, but that didn't work out quite as she'd anticipated. Thank goodness, as it happened, since my life turned out better than I could have known at the time.
After she married, F went in one direction with her education and her life, and I headed off to the University of Southern Miss to finish one of those and begin the other. We parted ways.
As so often happens, we lost contact over the years. Mr. T and I made a happy life that included one daughter and moves to seven states. She and her husband had three children...and, by all accounts, a very fulfilling life, living out their strong faith. I believe they lived outside the USA for several years...and she became fluent in Spanish.
Then...through the miracle of Facebook, we reconnected. As our posts criss-crossed our timelines, we got caught up with each other's lives. I took great joy in reading about...and seeing pictures of her first grandchild...a little boy, and about her son's wedding. She probably got more than a few chuckles out of my gardening obsession. Sadly, due to the distance between our current homes, we never got to get together for a burger again. But it sure felt like we did.
And, it felt like we could pick up our last conversation at the next W reunion...the big 4-0 in 2015. But that won't happen. And I'm stunned all over again.
I'm guessing this wounded feeling will subside. And life will continue. I'll dig up some old photos and bring back some more good memories. But it will take more than a little time to get over the slightly off-center sensation that it can happen again...at a moment's notice.
Stunned, I tell you. Stunned.