The tabletop looked like this, right in the middle of the living room before she left. And this is Katie's tabletop, mind you; she is a woman given to recovering from large messes, but usually after parties or serious bouts of remodeling or Expeditionary Furniture Rearrangement. It was a littel frantic, those last days before she left to join her beloved, Adam, in Africa. Yes. Africa. I know. I tried, believe me. I cried, gnashed my teeth, rended my garments in stunning fashion and pretended to have several deadly diseases of which I was like to die before she could possibly return. But she went, anyway, of course. She's an adventurous woman.
Once she was gone, and I had pretty well done with crying, been comforted by my dear husband and offered all manner of balm for the soul by my other sisters (for whom, O Be Thankful), I resigned myself to the situation with appropriate therapeutic measures, including a viewing of Out of Africa, which pretty well fixed Kate in my head as just as exotic and beautiful as Meryl Streep, and kind, patient Adam as a sort of quiet, Jewish Robert Redford. Clearly I was absolutely correct about the image, as you can see.
On top of that, they look blissfully in love, and it's not just in this picture. It's every single picture of them together. Which is wonderful, and something no self-respecting best- or top-tier friend could possibly feel other than joyful about, and I do. But, oh, my, how I miss her. There are some things that just felt strange or empty or awkward or all three, especially during Christmas. The MadriGalz sang at Creekside Dinery one night, and the mothers of Adam and Katie joined us for dinner. We all love them both, and they are so much fun together. There are glimmers of the classic stereotypical Jewish and Catholic mothers in them, and yet they are both so far from the mold it's hard to find the right words. There they sat, on the beautiful Creekside deck under the twnikling December stars...and yet it felt so strange to me not to have Katie with us. And you can't even get me started on the holiday movie The Man Who Came to Dinner, which has been a staple with us for more Christmases than I can imagine. Before Katie fell in love with Adam, she was so often with Rodney and me that we called her Rodney's non-conjugal wife; for this movie, the three of us would curl up on the couch with the boys and the dogs and laugh our heads off. Based on a play by Moss Hart, the dialogue is snappy, the acting crisp and wonderful, and some of the lines have entered our family lexicon. Tiy may have heard us say, "You are the moonflower of my middle age and I love you very much," or even "Shut your nasty little FACE!" and wondered. This is the movie from which these lines were stolen and are used early and often. So I watched the movie, dogs, boys and dear husband, but no Katie this year. Weird. And while I mourned her distance, the silent unchanging and horribly permanent loss of my dear old best friend Carrie was always with me to remind me: be grateful. Be grateful, you terrible person, because she is happy, and in love, and seeing the world, and she is not dead. I tried to remember. Now and then, there was a photo like this, to kind of keep me on track. Look how happy they are, fresh and dewy as the Alps behind them, filled with hope and visions of their shared future.
And the countdown has begun. She will be home for Valentine's Day. Can you imagine? I love you so, Katie. Travel safely.