November 18, 2008

letter to Debra

Dear Debra:

I can't believe it's been a year. A long, strange, horrible, sad, hard year, not just for me but for so many people I know. But it's looking up — there's a new sense of optimism around here, and across the country as well, because of Obama, and I think you would have loved that. I wish you were here to feel it, to be warmed by it.

I didn't know you very well, not like most of the people on this blog. I knew you first as one of those two beautiful blonde girls always coming into the Red Herring with Bart for photo shoots. Then I knew you as one of his best friends, who he would travel with every year for fun, and I confess I was jealous of that for a while. Not because I didn't trust you two together, because I did, but because you seemed to have so much fun and I wanted to join in. It was only in the last five or six years that I got to know you as you, the electric talented laughing dancing celebrating always-late Debra, the flame to which so many moths were drawn. If we had met outside of Bart I like to think we would have been close friends, we might have made space in our lives for each other. But as it was I really enjoyed getting to know you, to see you change and grow with Frankie. You are my role model for graceful, non-"helicopter" parenting.

These are the things I remember about you today:

  • Us talking about fiction. We were always swapping books, like Running With Scissors. You told me you loved it when people asked to use your photos on their book jackets Someday I had hoped one of yours would be on a book of mine. :-(
  • You coming into our house carrying the 2-year-old Frankie under your arm like a rolled-up carpet, laughing
  • The dinner party you had where you managed to get Kelly and other people to cook everything while you played sparkling host
  • Your fearless fashion sense, which I always envied
  • You at our wedding: You came straight from the airport and got up in front of the mic to "witness" for Bart, even though you were so, so sad, and tired, and the only reason you gave for why Bart should marry me was because I would "let him go on trips with us [you and Kate]!" And I am so sorry that I wasn't always gracious about that.

Debra, we will always love you, always miss you. And even though we weren't close, who you were as a woman, an artist, and a mother deeply inspired me, and I will carry little pieces of you in my heart and my head forever.

love Bonnie

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