It’s been many years since we found ourselves sitting next to each other in Creative Writing 240 (or was it 310? 127? I have no idea . . . ), both new to the tropics, new to marriage, new to domestic geckos and feral chickens. It’s also been many years since we left that place and years since we’ve seen each other. But despite the distance — both physical and temporal — I am still close to the things that I gained from our relationship. You were a friend at a critical time in my life, when everything changed and I was willing to let new relationships and circumstances mold me in whatever way they would. And for that I would like to thank you.
Thank you for running. Yes, I’d dabbled in running before I met you. I’d had plenty of friends who were runners, who had encouraged me to run, who had been examples of what running can do for you. But they were competitive and sleek. I was not and was becoming less so. You told me that I didn’t have to be a runner to run, showed me that it could be fun just to run for the sake of running. And you helped me take the frustration of gaining 15 pounds and turn it into motivation to get moving again — to become sleek and competitive.
Thank you for writing. I remember reading your short story in class together and wondering where you came up with these things. My stories, always, were too close to home, always very thinly disguised versions of my life. I had suspected it before, but sitting next to you in creative writing made me sure that I would pursue a different writing path. I’d leave the fiction to those who are good at it lest I embarrass myself further by putting my work next to yours. Thanks for helping me figure these things out.
Thanks, also, also for the artistic spontaneity, the unabashed curiosity, the appreciation of the unusual, the ability to describe things exactly as they are but in a way that I would never have thought to see them. And of course, since we’ve left Hawaii and gone our separate ways you continue to inspire with your photos, your lovely children, your ambition, and your artistic sensibility.
Thanks. Lots and lots.
ps to Stephanie: thanks for letting me steal this picture from your blog. I hope you don’t mind. I hope you don’t mind either, Diana. You left my life before I learned how to use a camera.