Thursday, May 7, 2009

Taste of Lime and Tears

Coast Guard Rescues 9, Search for 4 More Continues.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Flying Colours.

Newport sailors keep watch for Flying Colours.

Search ceases for boat carrying former Baker City Woman.

Two years ago today I received the chilling call that we all hope only happens in movies. My best friend called me during a mundane day at work, which was unusual since we regularly IMed or e-mailed, and said flatly, "Rhiannon's boat is missing."

That message gave birth to an obsession with Coast Guard news, the Boston Globe, and all things storm and Rhode Island oriented. There is a binder in my closet with every story that ran about the Flying Colours from May 7, 2007 to mid-July of the same year. The cover is the flier that was made for the "Keep the Faith Vigil" that was held in my hometown the day before many of my high school peers graduated from college.

When we lose someone, there comes an obsession with the relationship we had with them and all the could've, should've, would'ves that that entails. I have a lot of should'ves. I should have called and written more often.... I should have asked what was going on in her life.... I should've planned the trip to Rhode Island earlier... Had I known it was the last time, I would have had a less superficial conversation with her....

I feel enormously blessed that I was able to talk to Rhiannon a couple weeks before she left on the trip she wouldn't return from. At the time I was planning my wedding and was so excited that Rhi would be flying out for it. We hadn't seen each other in two years. The picture above is one of my favorites of Rhiannon (middle), Leslie (right) and myself. It has even more meaning to me now because the pictures from that day at the Lake are the last ones of us all together. Some of my best memories are of all of us at the Lake roasting hotdogs, make s'mores, laughing and being ridiculous.

Today I had a lime tortilla chip and burst into tears. Rhiannon loved lime tortilla chips. She brought them on one of our Lake trips and we thought they were the strangest things we'd ever heard of. She insisted they were the best and her favorite. They have since become one of my favorite chips as well and I can't eat them or see a bag without thinking of her. These are the little things I keep with me.

Until we meet again, my friend, fair winds and following seas.


Kanani said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. Sometimes it's the little things that bring back strong memories of our friends. She was probably with you right that minute.

In My Own Words said...

I was touched by your writing and expression of passion in this article. I will remember this.

MamaZuzi said...

I feel your grief. These are the moments that remind us how precious life is and to appreciate what we've got while we've got it. I remember distinctly one Christmas vacation in St. Louis when we suddenly realized that no one had heard from my brother's friend Mark in too long. That he should have been home and made contact by then but he hadn't. I was a painful few days until they found his car submerged in water along the highway he was returning home on from a trip. He was only 16. That was one of the hardest times of my life, the hardest crying sessions, and he was my brother's friend whom I knew but not as close no doubt as yours.