We sat outside a New York Bagel shop in Sedona, Arizona. She worked her way through an egg and cheese with ketchup and I enjoyed a smear of white fish on a toasted sesame bagel. With the mid-morning sun in Leo and Scorpio, we were two east coast girls, she much more than I, enjoying the warmth caressing our spirits. We were there to heal, as so many people aim to do when they visit this special place. We’d become Thelma and Louise, without the law after us, but the law of nature. We’d driven together from Utah, having enjoyed a whirlwind of creativity, excitement, adventure, gratitude, snow and fabulous free drinks while at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.
Back in 1990 or so I was the Social Coordinator for the New Student Orientation at Marquette University. What that means is I had a responsibility to the wide-eyed new freshmen…to entertain them, to show them a good time during their first week on campus. It was also my job to teach them what it meant to be a Marquette Warrior.
I studied acting in New York with a formidable black woman named Susan Batson. Her voice, raspy and brash, was tinged with a Boston accent, which made her extra tough. She sorta reminded me of Al Pacino in Heat, if he were neatly stuffed into the body of a petite black woman. Shrouded in a mane of hair that was like a massive fur coat that rich women wear about their shoulders, she’d come walking into her Manhattan studio in these 4-inch heels like a drill sergeant and everyone knew it was time to straighten up and fly right. When I studied with her, she’d been working with Nicole Kidman on Cold Mountain; Nicole won the Oscar for The Hours and thanked Susan in an awards acceptance speech.
On the eve of the celebration of my birth, I write this as a gift to myself. Because I must.
I’m writing this from the cramped middle seat of a Frontiers flight from New York to Phoenix. I arrived in NY about two weeks ago when I fled the confines of Baltimore and the arresting new memories created there in such a short time. Like the buildings in the neighborhoods Uber drivers said to avoid, I had crumbled. My outsides were still standing, a tough brick house, but a peek through me to the inside would show floors destroyed, walls caved in, leaving craters in the structure allowing my heart to plunge to a pile of debris at the bottom.
Yesterday was interesting, to say the least. It started with the normal jumping on the laptop and working on my social media clients. Only my fingers were tingling with excitement because today was finally the day for my first true pre-natal visit! The Indian and I had to drive an hour for the visit, as I was seeing a doctor my cousin suggested and it was near her home, not mine. It was on my “Baby – To Do List” to possibly figure out what doctor to choose that was closer to Baltimore.
It’s funny how death teaches us about life.
Well, if you’ve been following along, you know that I decided to leave Prague back in July and I did it like a thief in the night. I secretly told people goodbye — mental telepathy secretly. I’d see someone who I cared about deeply as a friend and I’d know it was the last time I was going to see them for awhile, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell them goodbye. So inside, I’d be like, “I’m leaving Prague for awhile. I love you. See you soon!” Then when I was out of their sight I would cry.
I hate goodbyes.
It is surreal to write this. In my last post, I so simply wrote of how my dad had just gotten married to his new wife and how I stood up in that beautiful wedding. Who could have possibly known that just three months later I would be standing up at her funeral?
My dad’s wife, Belinda, died on July 11. At nine hours ahead, I received the call on July 12 around 6 or 7am in Prague as I was frantically packing the last of my things to move back to the states.