When I go home to Rhode Island, I always read the obituaries. This time, I was saddened by the death of a girl I lived with briefly in college. Five of us girls and assorted (and sordid) friends lived in a historic, somewhat rundown, Victorian house in Narragansett Pier. It was a summer so long ago that Elton John was actually young. We were not even into our mid-twenties.
The girl was, truly, the sweetest of gentle souls. She had a delicate face, a soothing voice and a lilting giggle. Everybody loved her, but she was ill-matched to that house.
We were vegetarians eating rice salad and stuffed eggplants, and she was eating McDonald’s and other really junky foods. She’d take her bag of food and soda to the front porch and tell us, “Don’t say anything!” And who would after that obvious admission of guilt? But I never saw her eat a vegetable or other healthy thing.
We did not keep in touch after that summer. The death notice described her full life and mentioned hospice, which usually means cancer. Back in those days, it was common to puff on cigarettes and bake in the sun. The weird part about cancer is that it takes years to develop: 20, 30, 40 or more.
No one knew that the years would fly by and our habits would be our undoing. Lifestyle habits are odd anyway. There’s no real proof for a particular individual, and cause and effect are inferred at best. And sometimes, summer is over, and we miss out on fall and winter.
Your thoughts: A penny for yours…