Alfonse and I leave in the wee hours of the morning for our long vacation back East. Not soon enough. Today was kind of a grueling day cramming everything in I needed to do to close down my office, make sure my phone was working properly (hours on the phone with Verizon), make sure Alfonse was all ready to go, deal with our various shuttles, our cats, etc. etc. Oh and I worked today too. I found myself leaving a message for a friend where my voice sounded, even to myself, like an elderly woman. I said “I just feel like bawling”. Exhaustion on so many levels. Menopause just hammers me sometimes.
I went to pick up Alfonse to come spend the night here (the shuttle picks us up at…eegads…just over 5 hours from now at 4:45am) so he’s spending the night. Luckily we’re flying First Class the whole way. 😀
As we ran to do my final errand, he just blurted out “Kathy we have to cherish every minute we have with our father because you never know when it will be your last”. Wisdom. While he was talking like this my phone dinged twice. As I arrived at the FedEx station I checked my phone to see this terribly sad and shocking message from my friend Wendy.
Our mutual friend Tony Carito suddenly passed away, today I think. I don’t know the details.
I met Tony in a coffee shop about two years ago in Sedona as I was grabbing a cup for the road. Long before we got our home up there. We chatted and decided to become Facebook friends so that’s what we did. I watched him quietly from afar, sometimes liking his posts, sometimes commenting. He very rarely commented on mine but I remember him saying about a selfie where I was showing off my new haircut something like “boy, you’re pretty.
Just over three weeks ago, I was up there for a long weekend and had no plans for the Monday I’d planned to stay over. I sent Tony a message asking if he wanted to hang out. He responded quickly saying that would be great and suggested we drive up the canyon to a little cafe called Indian Gardens. He offered to pick me up.
He arrived at my house exactly on time and gifted me a notecard bearing his artwork with a tiny photograph on the back of him as a child of 4 or so. I felt like I’d known him forever; it was so comfortable being with him and we talked and talked all along the drive and into the canyon. As we walked in to the restaurant, people right and left were greeting him with big smiles. He was one of the most popular people I’ve ever seen. We had a long leisurely deep talk over lunch about many things. He shared deep thoughts and vulnerabilities with me at one point saying “is it ok I’m telling you all of this?”. I just replied “these are the kinds of conversations I live for.”
Tony wanted to go next door to the Dairy Queen after lunch and he got a blizzard, me a latte (still not eating sugar). We continued our easy conversation there and I felt so happy to be making this new friend. He performed in an Improv Theatre company called Zenprov and talked a lot about it. I was so excited to see him perform and shared I was thinking about maybe getting back in to that myself (that’s another story from my past). I had dreams of training with him in some way one day.
After a few hours he drove me back home, I ran inside to grab some of the cookies I’d pulled from the batch I made for the cops and gave them to him. He kissed me sweetly and platonicly on the lips and we both shared how we looked forward to spending more time together. It was an easy, safe, fun connection.
I’m so sad he’s gone. I wonder why I felt all day so agitated and like I wanted to cry. It sure makes me go hmmmm.
Rest well Tony…you will be missed by so many people. You left a big hole in Sedona, bigger than the sinkhole I saw last weekend.
I’m going to frame your card and place it somewhere so it can make me smile. One day.
I told John tonite I think he’s a little bit psychic. Saying that to me about never knowing what moment is our last with someone just as that message was coming about Tony. Then we picked up Chinese and his fortune cookie said this.
I said before I need to pay better attention to what my brother shares and I mean it.
I think I’ll go have my cry now.