It’s been a while since I’ve written something here. A blogger once said that, bloggers should sometimes take a step back from blogging to get a reality check. Sometimes, life doesn’t wait for you to get that reality check. It just whips it out and smack you over the head with it. Two Sundays ago, I had a plan about my summer. I made a schedule of everything that was due for class, and all the things I wanted to blog about. I was looking forward to owning the rest of this summer, feeling on top of things. The next day, I found out that one of my closest friends had passed away.
That Monday, time stood still. It was a beautiful day. The sky was blue, birds were singing and the temperature outside was perfect. It was a horrible days to receive bad news. That was week 3 of my summer session. Tomorrow will start week 3 of when I found out. I’m going to have to live with that for a while. I’m glad, though, that I have 4 years of great memories with her and the rest of our friends. I wrote a poem for her, freshman year. and two Saturdays ago, I wrote a piece for her that I read at the funeral service. I hope she heard me.
“So, what’s your life story?”, that is how many of us came to know Mariel and each other. She collected life stories, you see. Sitting patiently, to listen to your story from A to Z. The life story was sort of the baptism into the group of firends that Mariel had collected over the course of our first semester in college.
My memory of that first year is a loop of Ethiopian dinners, heated conversations about politics, gender, relationships, race and romantic comedies, with High Rise 5 being the setting. I thought I was coming to a place where I was just a number. I found a second family instead.
Mariel would quickly remind us that year she was the link between all of us. The band of 10-15 girls and the couple of guys that made our family at college.
Even as our group splintered after freshman year, Mariel reamined the “mother figure”, springing into action when one of us was sick, with teas and food that I still dream about. She was the youngest one in the group, but you’d hardly know it. She was one to tell it to you like it is, whether it was about the boy you liked or the dress-shoes combination you picked out. She took charge whether you liked it or not, and had many times made our beds, done our hair and our make-up or simply made herself at home in our rooms, our apartments, our laptops or our clothes. She simply loved fiercely and lived fearlessly.
I remember her “tea set” phase, her “espresso shots’ phase, her “Manga” phase and her “Lady Gaga” phase.
During that first week when we got the news, I had never heard the term “core group” used so much in my life. Our group of friends was repeatedly called ‘the core group’. A friend’s mother explained by pointing out the difference between ‘core positions’ and ‘project positions’. Project positions end with projects while core positions remain.
Our group splintered the second year, based on interest, major and residence.The highlights of those years remain the time we came together for food, an outing or a movie.
That week we found out, week 1, our interest groups melted back into the core group. The love that Mariel shared with us came out in the form of phone calls, shared meals, shared blankets and shared food and comfort. It didn’t matter that some of us hadn’t hung out in a while. The core group solidifed by deep friendship remained.
Mariel, thank you for showing us what Love looks like. Thank you for giving me a family.
Someone told me after they heard the news that, life is both joy and pain. If you live long enough, you’ll get to see a balance of both. I’m sure he’s right.
Tomorrow will start week 3. Mondays will have a different meaning for me, for a while.