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Monday, August 10, 2015

Beautiful Smiling Asha

Asha's dear friend sent me some absolutely beautiful pictures of her yesterday.  Dear God, what an amazing smile she had...I often see an expression of curiosity in her face, a lively one, as if she were endlessly curious about the world around her.  I do not often see such an expression on people.  She had such a beautifully changeable face, at least as far as I can tell in photos.  There is a photo of her on her wedding day; she is smiling into the camera, a beautiful bride's smile.  She has on a lovely dress, with black flowers on the bodice, and she holds a bouquet of pink and white roses--this was probably one of the happiest days of her life. There is a picture of her on a couch in the home she shared with her husband; she holds some sort of black rectangular object in one hand, perhaps a notebook, and I saw for the first time that she had long, elegant fingers, like the ones in portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. 

Coupled with the terrible incident in Santa Cruz two weeks ago, a little girl (who played with my granddaughter from time to time), murdered in the worst and most henious way--I feel like I hold sorrow tonight like a ball of thorns.  Why are the sweetest and the best and the brightest, most good souls taken from this world? It is probably the oldest question in the world. I feel like I want to apologize to Asha for coming to America, the country of my birth, and experiencing such terrible things here.  She deserved so much better, as did Madyson, the little girl who is no more.  They deserved life, the greatest gift we have.

I drove tonight and talked to Asha, as I often do.  I know it sounds crazy, but writers do these kinds of things.  I told her I was sorry she had endured so much, that she did not deserve it, and that I would keep trying to write the best book I can for her--and, as happened once before, an owl glided silently across the space illuminated by my headlights, as if the reply was, "Keep going, all will be well."  I will write, for her, and in some way, for little Madyson, and all women who have been taken away from this earth. I could easily have been one of those women, too; a tiny strand separates my fate from theirs.

I will end tonight on a positive note: when I went to the Tannery for a dance class (the Tannery is where little Madyson was murdered), I went outside to look at Madyson's memorial, after class.  There are two: one with dozens of stuffed toys and letters, and another, outside, which is masses of flowers and candles. There was a table near the memorial where you could sit and decorate a wooden leaf, then hang it up on a large wooden plaque shaped like a tree, a permanent memorial for her.  I sat and decorated the edges of the leaf with shiny bits of silver mylar, and wrote "Light" in the center.  When I hung it on the tree among dozens of other leaves, the silver fragments around the leaf's edge glittered as it twisted in the night breeze.  It did not necessarily make me feel better, but it at least made me feel like I did something substantial to honor the life of a precious child.