Lips Oh You the Doors Of Breath

We had all the weather today. The broccoli plants enjoyed it.

In February, my co-worker and friend contracted an infection and two weeks later an EEG showed no brain activity. The family clung to hope that activity would appear on subsequent tests. For me, it was all over when brain death had occurred, so it was painful to watch her husband and grown children talk about how she was just resting and would be fine, and so much prayer. My head swam. I think it was the backstroke. Every day, I think about her. Our last conversation still brings tears to my eyes.

We walked out of the library in two lady-size huffs.

Tata: – He didn’t have to do that. I mean, nobody has to be that big of a douchebag –

Diane stopped in her tracks to howl.

Diane: I haven’t heard that word in ages!
Tata: I say it all the time – just not in the library.
Diane: Oooh, that’s funny! I’m going to say it all evening.
Tata: I feel we’ve both profited by this conversation. See you tomorrow!

But the next time I saw her she was in a coma and her daughter was reading to her from the Bible. Of course, I wish I’d started swearing sooner. We all have regrets.

One thing I didn’t notice until weeks after her death was that all along she’d given me little presents. In the foyer of my house sits a candle she gave me as a housewarming gift. On my desk is a work-safe photocopy of a prayer I don’t actually believe but loved because it was just so funny. In my desk, I found a magnifying glass she gave me when she decided my job was all detective work. She gave me a music box harlequin topped with feathers and decorated with sequins she said reminded her of me. I wondered if that meant I was a shiny clown on a portable box, but who can argue that? Even the portable part? She gave me mint plants pulled from her mother’s yard and I fully expected them to take over a section of the front lawn. Strangely, this is the gift with an unexpected outcome: the mint died, too. I am absolutely sure Diane would find that hilarious.

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