December 3, 2007

It's Debraaa!

I began my long distance relationship with Debra almost seven years ago. I came across a promo piece of hers that inspired me to call her to see her book. She sent me her portfolio and I poured over her beautiful images. Our long distance relationship was born as I sent her on assignments from across the country, from my office in New York.

“Hi Tina!!!! It’s Debraaaaaaaaaaaa!” This was the typical Debra greeting. It always made me laugh the way she drew out her name. Our phone conversations continued for almost two years, punctuated by notes that she included in packages. A “Hi Tina” or smiley face on a post-it were not uncommon and made me smile. We finally met in person during a trip she made to New York. She was not at all what I was expecting, although I’m not quite sure what that was. The shock of blonde hair, the icy blue eyes, and the funky style took me by surprise, but only until I recognized her for her infectious laugh, (coupled by her1000-watt smile), intrepid curiosity and genuine interest in everything I had to say. Happily this visit was followed by many more.

One of my favorite long distance moments happened one year around my birthday. We were chatting on the phone and I recounted my night out and mentioned that I hadn’t had any birthday cake, the one thing that to me makes birthdays different from any other day. A few days later a Fed Ex package arrived at my office. Thinking that it was some film or contact sheets, I opened it, surprised to find yards of bubble wrap encasing one small, perfect chocolate caramel tart from Citizen Cake! I called Debra immediately to thank her (I shockingly didn’t get her voice mail) and she started laughing hysterically reenacting her experience of walking into the bakery and asking what pastry would travel best by Fed Ex to New York. Apparently the salespeople were alarmed that she would even suggest that she might treat their confections in such a casual way, yet steered her away from the more delicate items to the most dense and travel worthy sweet. That chocolate caramel tart was delicious not just for the amazing ingredients, but for the playful and decidedly thoughtful person who sent it to me. She didn’t have to do that, I certainly didn’t expect her to do that…but she did. I’ve never met anyone else like her and doubt that I ever will.

Much love,

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