I brought my bags to the car at 10:30pm, teeth numb from tiredness. I had my shortest east coast trip to date up ahead, two dresses, a stomach eliminator, and directions to a friend’s vacant condo in South Boston. Longer lines than I expected at SeaTac, including guys with golf bags in the shuttle bus. Sleepwalking to and through the terminal, I ended up in a first-class seat, but not enough time to get real rest – as we stopped and deplaned at MSP.
By the time I got to Boston, all I wanted to do was take a nap. Instead, I and the cabbie got lost on the way to my friend’s home. I had him let me out on A Street, figuring I’d have an easier time navigating alone. (I was right.)
My friend’s home reminded me of other places she had lived, though this was the smallest of all the abodes I had visited. She’s petite with a great (artist’s) sense of proportion, and the scale of the place suits her – it was almost as if I was visiting with her artchitectural equivalent. Southern exposure and a balcony revealed a city aroused and asleep.
On the way into the ‘Tute, the obligatory pilgrimage to Rosie’s Bakery, and my politeness to other customers won me a “hun.” Though overtired and in town for a somewhat sad occasion, I was invigorated by the company of my colleagues. My drop in dinner at the Blue Room was also welcoming, and delicious. It was good support, a grounding, for the next day or so.
In addition to meetings, I was in Boston to help others celebrate the memories of a colleague who had passed away suddenly last spring. To be there for the living, not unlike the wakes and funerals of my own family traditions. But different, in that there was this space, the space of a year, to bring one’s thoughts together and reflect on what we knew of him and remembered of our interactions with appreciation and perhaps less rawness.
As for myself, I still can’t quite believe my colleague is dead. Perhaps that is the way it is when one dies suddenly, as did his wonderful wife months in advance of him. It’s not to say that the shock is absent after a long illness, but the shock of the sudden loss is, well, pretty unfathomable. And throughout the year, I kept wondering when he would appear on the telcon.
The memorial service, which revealed whole lives unknown to some of us, but with the clearly identifiable character of our colleague, was a pleasure and comfort to those in attendance, particularly his children. But I have to say, I still keep hoping to hear a sardonic remark in his wonderful dry voice. That voice! May it, and much of what he said, continue to live on in us. Rest in peace, Alan.