Wednesday, September 14, 2005


A friend of mine recently lost her stepfather. I've been meaning to write her a note, expressing my sympathy for her loss, but I've not been writing much lately. No real excuse for that, other than lots of work and stress and decompressing from said stress. I went to a website about writing, and it had some advice about writing a condolence letter. And now, having visited my friend recently, I know that I've delayed this too long and have hurt her, for which I deeply apologize.

I met Lynn a while ago. She dated my friend James right after high school, and we spent a great summer at various houses having fun. She fit in well with our group, right from the start. In some ways she took on the role of caretaker, and we were okay with that. We spent quite a few hours at her Mom's house in a small town down the road. One that didn't sell alcohol in the city limits, so we had to make a longer trip than you'd usually think to make a beer run. Her mother and stepfather allowed us the use of the house, and one of the teenage perennials, a pool table. I didn't know her stepfather well. He was kind and polite to us when we came over, even when we got rowdy, which happened fairly frequently.

The one thing that I remember well concerned a day when we'd been hanging out at Lynn's mom's house, a smaller group than usual. Someone put on some music, a little older than we usually chose. Lynn's stepfather walked up to his wife, put his arms around her, and they started to dance.

The way they danced. It didn't remind me of my parents, who loved one another but mostly swayed to music. This was different. They glided across the floor, graceful and perfect. He twirled her, and she let herself be twirled, and I remember thinking that I'd never seen people dance that well, that comfortable together in real life. They belonged together in that small stretch of time, and they knew it. You could see it in the smiles on their faces. We knew it too, and it made all of us smile to see how well they moved together. It made me wish that someday I'd have a partner like that, with whom I'd move so beautifully that we'd be like one person.

As soon as I heard about Lynn's stepfather's death, I tried to remember something personal about him. That's what I've got, and I hope that Lynn remembers that day with all the joy that her mother and stepfather felt in those moments.


Dean said...

If the only thing you can remember about someone is that, it's a hell of a beautiful thing to remember. If the only thing I'm remembered for is something like that, I'll be happy.

I think you should still write your friend a letter. I think you should be honest and say 'look, I know I've left this too long. I'm sorry. I didn't know what to say,' and then tell her the dancing story in the touching way you've written it here.

Kate said...

Thanks Dean.
I sent it to her before I posted it, to see if she liked it.
She did.