Friday morning my longtime friend took her last breath. I didn’t know of it until Sunday afternoon, when I finally returned what I thought was her call. “Hi Mist!” but it wasn’t Misty, it was her husband. “Hi Jesse!”. His voice was different and he thought that I already knew, but I said I hadn’t listened to the voicemail that was left. He had a hard time speaking. “Should I just listen to it and call you right back?”
“No. Let me just tell you”. He went silent. “So I’ll just tell you”. Again silence. I waited. Oh my gosh, I thought, Misty dumped him! She picked up and walked out leaving him hanging and he was flabbergasted…oh, he was calling me with her phone…I’ll just wait then…
“Misty is dead, she’s dead”.
I actually didn’t feel anything right away, it was more like dryness than sadness. But I immediately got into position of support as her new widower told me the details. I gave him advice. Not that I know anything about burials and funeral services, but I did know enough to tell him to make sure he only spoke with people that have been supportive to him in his life and those he trusted well. (They have a list of dead-beat family members who use and abuse them, betray them behind their backs, steal from them, etc. I was happy to know that he knew better than letting them come to the service.) I also told him that I wanted to be his point of contact when things weren’t going right, and when he feels overwhelmed with grief. What we both had in common was that dear, crazy, wild woman who we loved to pieces.
I didn’t know how much I loved her until a few hours later. I couldn’t help but think of all the fun times we’ve had together some 20 years before. I had just come to the US and was not only undergoing extreme culture shock, but a total identity crisis as I was faced with the new truth that all my old truths were no longer acceptable. My dad was never some great prophet and all I held dear was now, let’s say, must not be mentioned out loud.
Misty offered all kinds of dreams available to be had for she was suing the city and state for some outrageous sum because a drunk cop ran over her with his police car and now she wobbles around with metal instead of bones in her legs. She wasn’t the light at the end of my tunnel, she was the light in my tunnel. She made walking through it bearable. We did crazy adventures and talked about buying mansions. We went house shopping. I was going to live in this big great house with her and study music. One day I took my beat-up car which I had purchased for $300, to rescue her from an abusive boyfriend. He would be away for at least an hour, which was a rare case because he watched her day and night like a prisoner. She called me when I was at work and said, “Come pick me up right now!”. I told my supervisor I had an emergency and was off to the rescue. It was scary! We threw a few things into a couple of duffel bags and then drove straight to the Greyhound station. But instead of sending her off, we both got the crazy idea that I should go with her all the way to Vegas and stay there for a few days. We would find some shabby hotel, gamble, then she would head north and I would return to Phoenix. And, just as we planned, I hopped on the bus with her that night, but upon arriving to Vegas we found that there was not a room to be had because some convention was going on and everyone on the western hemisphere was there. We ended up staying in some shabby motel with a single slot machine in its damp and stinky lobby. I have no idea how it happened, but my adventure partner had winning karma and loved to gamble! She would go to places outside of Phoenix and come home with a few more hundred dollars than she left with. Every time I tried it, I lost everything I had on my and everything that was loaned to me! Well, true to her karma, that single, wobbly slot machine spat out tokens worth $20. No big deal for most, but for us, it meant lunch money.
Then she introduced me to The Strip. What a fabulous place of bright lights, tall towers, crowds impossible to get past, and water emerging from the ground dancing to some beautiful tune. We pushed our way through the masses because Misty was adamant and unafraid. I, much more sheepish at the time, followed behind obediently. Then we came into a casino which seemed to have millions of machines and tables and lights and waiters offering drinks, all fancy and fabulous, but Misty looked directly forward and walked straight over to a machine and started playing. How was it that within a few hours she had $400!?
It was about a two years span that we were partners in crime, in which she was the leader and I was the puppy.
Over the following 15 years we were in and out of contact with one another. She seemed to always be moving, losing my cell phone number, and changing husbands. A couple of her former husbands were serving time. I couldn’t keep up with her, since my own life storms were claiming every piece of mental and emotional space I had. We would fall out of touch. Every now and then I would think of her, pray for her, really hope she was ok, then dropped off again. Time would pass.
Then one day I would get a phone call from her, and she would fill me in on all that had happened since we last spoke. It was always something like, I got married again, I moved to a new state, I’m in this new fabulous house and am feeling great. We would stay in contact for a few weeks then drop off again. I tried to call her in some of these interludes but her numbers were never working. Then one day she called again after several years of being off the map somewhere. She had a new housemate, was very happy, life was good. Dr. D, the one whose skill saved her life after she was run over, was wonderful. Through all of this, Dr. D was her hero. Then a new storm hit, something bad would always happen, and the constant pain she lived in was unbearable to her.
I had never met someone so wild, who had endured so much pain, yet so committed to being happy and having a wonderful time with a drink on some porch. She inspired me to actually live. Then one day she met Mr. Wonderful (Jesse) and her life finally became good. Over all these years I had only been able to visit her about three or four times, and the last time was about three years ago in Arizona. I stayed the night at their house and witnessed with my own eyes what a great man he was to her. I felt still and satisfied. Her life only kept getting better.
Then they moved to some beach town in Texas, and I had in my mind that I would go visit. I would sit on the porch with them, have some drinks and a cigarette, chat about random stuff and not care that they are Trump supporters. The only thing that mattered to me was that Misty was happy, and she had a devoted man taking care of her.
I will never get to go to that beach and have those drinks with them. All the un-lived adventures will remain that way, un-lived, but still thought up. They are like alive trees suddenly petrifying, but not going away. There is a corner of the universe where those adventures still need someone to live them! That was supposed to be us.
What I am most deeply sorry for is the last time she called me was to congratulate me for graduating, but I got off the phone fast because I was watching a movie with my sisters. I said I would call the next day, but didn’t. Days past and I was kept busy by my family, then I got sick…
I was so excited for her to be calling me though! I returned her call and it wasn’t her, it was the sad news. Now I will never be able to talk to her again…unless I learn how to talk to spirits, of course (never rule anything out!).
All this time I had no idea how much I actually did love her. It sank in and I cried for days.
My crazy, wild, completely untamable friend Misty, I will see you again ♥