Photo by S. Auberle
Annie turns 99 today -- soon she'll be just
another star, looking down and wondering what on earth all the fuss was
about. Her house is filled with paper
lanterns, her black and white photos, rocks and bones and birdwings. For her birthday I think I'll take her a
bowl of sweet cherries, though she never believed that about life. Just like she never believed she'd live to be
99. Survived cancer twice, heart
attacks, yet whenever you left, instead of goodbye, Annie always said cheers!
As if it was enough to wish it, she didn't have to believe. On the day Pavarotti died, she called to tell
me that once, upon hearing him in person, she nearly fainted. These days small Annie grows smaller by the
moment, and rarely speaks. Perhaps,
after all this time, there is nothing left to say. Annie has fierce masks hanging on her walls
and owls watch her, she once said, from the forest outside her windows. I don't know for sure if she speaks their
language, but it wouldn't surprise me.
Or dragonfly, perhaps. I asked
Annie one day if she believed in a god.
I don't remember her answer, but I doubt that she does. Maybe as her time draws near, she's reconsidering that. Or perhaps she's just
enjoying this cool west wind today that sets the lanterns to dancing and the
birdwings preparing to take flight…
(I wrote this piece a few months back, Annie died yesterday)
RIP Annie R. 1916-2015