Richard

Dear Richard,

You are the kindest soul I have ever known. You gave me a job twice when I really needed one and held my hand all through my father’s funeral, assuring me everything would be all right. You instilled confidence in my five-year-old daughter, making her your Hearts partner whenever we played, and gave me the day off when my dog died, understanding what an important loss of a family member it was. We cried for John together the morning Bianca died, and have buried more pets between us than anyone should have to.

Struggling to write your eulogy today, I leaf through yellowed papers with fading ink, remembering some of the things we laughed about on those drives into work … and how certain memories always made you smile. I recalled that stupid license plate game we played more years than I can count, the pantries we stocked in anticipation of the end-of-the-world apocalypse, and the spool coffee-table business that was going to turn us into millionaires! Such humiliation when the peanut gallery wet themselves laughing. I thought about the time I accidentally knocked you out with two Miltown tablets instead of Excedrin, and how all you said was, “Don’t worry about it. At least you got rid of my headache.”

You, Richard Miller, introduced me to so much, my first computer, now the first of many, and so many treasured friendships I never would have known if not for you. All those trips to Vegas with John, Dale and Hank … where we once pretended to be married to get a free breakfast from a land promotional company—who made us sit through a boring three-hour business spiel. In the end, I guess the joke was on us? One year, you took me to the most beautiful secretary’s lunch at Musso and Frank, where we ended up meeting Buffy Sainte Marie. You graciously faked being as big a fan as I when you saw my excitement at meeting one of my childhood idols. “That was who again?” You asked when we left. One of the things I have most admired about you through the years is your simple grace and aplomb … the way you always sidestep any obstacle with elegance and dignity.

Through a blur of tears, I see your warm smile and those untold stories just behind your eyes. Knowing I will never hear another or receive another bone-crushing hug is too much to bear. Selfishly, I’ve been thinking how much I already miss you and wish you were here like the old days … wish you were here to help me get through this. I don’t know what I imagine you would say? Just something witty and wry—something that would whisper through the trees, “It’s all right … I’m here.”

Love always,
Cathy

Vienna

Dear A.,

I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.

I know I’ve told you that a million times, but I just keep saying it over and over to myself. Every breath I take feels like the word sorry. I can’t stop thinking it. I look around the house, at all the things we bought together, all the souvenirs of trips, and I see your face in everything. I hear your laugh. I want to hear you laugh again so much.

I picked up the serving plate we agonized over in Vienna. Remember? The crystal one that was so delicate, so expensive. But I wanted it so badly, I don’t know why. The angels, I guess. I love angels so much. You kept saying, It’s too expensive. It’s impractical. It’s too delicate. How will we get it home?

I finally gave up asking. And then, on the last morning of the trip, I was packing up, so sad to be leaving that glorious city. I wasn’t even thinking about the plate anymore. I’d given up on it and I thought you were right. I was being impractical.

You told me you were just going out for a newspaper, but then you came back with that plate! I couldn’t believe it. I cried so much, didn’t I? Like a baby. I don’t know, but I think it was the most wonderful thing anyone’s ever done for me. I was so happy. I’ll never forget the feeling in my heart, knowing that you loved me so much. I kissed you all the way to the airport. You laughed and laughed. How I miss your laugh …

I packed it so carefully … I really did. You know that. But you were right. It was too delicate to make the trip. When we got back, it had cracked in half. And then I cried. I just felt so stupid. So selfish. You held me and said, “We can fix it. Don’t worry. It’s broken, but it’s not ruined. It’ll be all the more beautiful with a faint scar in it. And much stronger. You’ll see.”

You wanted to fix it yourself – and you did! You were so careful, getting that special adhesive, following the instructions online. And you were right. It was more beautiful, more precious to me, with that faint scar. I still cherish it. But I loved what you said about it. “It’s stronger now,” you told me. “And you’ll never have to worry about breaking it again. Because it’s already happened.”

I passed it last night, glinting on the sideboard. I picked it up and studied it, running my finger along that little rift, remembering. Yes, it was more beautiful. Those angels sparkling, laughing, uncaring. The crack was barely noticeable. It was the angels I saw. It was your face I saw.

Can’t we fix us that way? Can’t we be better, stronger, more beautiful, because of this? I promise you won’t ever have to worry again. I know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you are the most important thing in the world to me. I miss your skin. Your hands. Your lips. Your laugh. I don’t want to live without you. I can’t.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I don’t even want to bring it up, but I told you he meant nothing to me – and with each passing day, that becomes more apparent to me. I hate myself for it. I’ll never forgive myself. But I beg that you forgive me.

Please, let’s fix this … we can be happier, better, stronger than ever … I know we can … We’re not ruined, just broken a bit, and I know we can fix it. I love you so much … I miss you so much … Please come home to me …

With all my love forever,
D. xxx

Elaine’s

food-restaurant-eat-snack

Hi Ms Lovely,

I am watching Hulu’s “The Looming Tower,” an original series which takes a controversial look at how the rivalry between the CIA and FBI may have affected the tragedy of 9/11. In the pilot, an FBI operative named John O’Neil has dinner at a local New York restaurant called Elaine’s. When Elaine sees him enter she says, “Well look what the cat dragged in.”

O’Neil responds, “Hello, Beautiful.”

Elaine: “Feels like forever.”
O’Neil: “Twenty-four hours will do that.”
Elaine: “You miss someone, you miss someone.”

Ain’t that the truth. Darling, one day without you feels like forever. Time drags and it hurts like someone is stabbing my heart with a fork. When you miss your certain someone, you miss them. No way around it. There is only one cure, and that is to meet for dinner at Elaine’s.

Feeling Far Away Tonight,
C