A prayer for Washington Irving

I still don’t believe it's real but people keep saying that word "leukemia" like it's something real. All I wanted was to never again sit here doing nothing while someone I love spends weeks confined to a hospital room because of a cancer that starts with "L." That seems specific enough, doesn't it? I didn't ask for world peace or no more war, I asked for something very very small and very very narrow and only tangentially selfish. How does this happen? What does leukemia want? How much does it take?

Diana sat behind me in German class because our last names started with "G." We laughed at Donald der Ente and Murius der Marsmensch. We laughed at everything. She has a loud laugh, a gorgeous smile. You would call her a beauty and remember her face. We made a video once for a class project, translating an episode of "Three's Company" into German. She played Chrissy and I was Janet. "Oh Jack Jack Jack Jack Jack!" she cried. Our German was terrible but we had the best time.

She introduced me to Cary Grant.

When we were in college we worked the breakfast shift at Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells over the summer, far from the happiest place on earth. She would leave me notes in the break room, scribbled on her lined green ordering pad, notes that started with "Franklin Z." for no reason at all. She called me Franklin and I called her Robert. For no reason at all, to this day still. It was only a reason to laugh.

Once we threw a New Year's Eve party and on New Year's Day we laid on the floor in front of the TV and watched a "Charlie's Angels" marathon from dusk until dawn. Once when we got home from seeing "The Piano" downtown at the Majestic she found a purse with $100 and no ID inside, lying in the parking lot. I think she used it to buy a new purse.

Pigeons used to nest on the air conditioner outside our apartment. We would sit on the balcony at night and drink the cheapest beer we could find. We loved Sting. We devoted one entire bookshelf to Danielle Steel, only half ironically. Neither of us had any money. We shopped for groceries at Woodman's and saw movies every weekend and watched "90210" and "My So-Called Life" and ate a lot of yogurt.

She has two adorable children.

She turns 40 in April. She shares Washington Irving's birthday.

Fuck you, letter L.

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