7.22.2005


Hitting the Hard Stuff

Which would be chocolate. Jill left yesterday and I’m mopey. The eating of chocolate, for me, isn’t so much the stereotypical devotional female sad-solace; I don’t totally buy the endorphins song-and-dance. (I buy Toblerone or Lindt or Ritzbury in a pinch, har de har har.) What I seek is not neurochemical anaesthesia but the Pavlovian simulacra of same… which is arguably neurochemical as well, given the chem-wired nature of the grey stuff upstairs.

Yeesh, this is some trenchant prose. Apologies.

Right, so I’ll refrain from a nattering breakdown of the chocolate subtypes available in my Kandy-land. I do suspect that this particular face-cram-fest (mocha ganache bar) was motivated equally by the residual bittersweet of Jill’s departure and the unfortunate aftertaste of dinner at Stuart’s house. His host-amma is really a poor cook, though she makes up for it by being an enthusiastic host.

The point (I remind myself) is to say a bit about Jill. Jill loves chocolate and pursues it more avidly than I do. I learned from Jill that when Cargills gots the good stuff (dark), you buy several.

Jill wins the amba yaluwa (mango friend) award for being the voice of sanity during the last ten months. She’s one of those even-keeled types who you’d have to resentfully hate for being so damn together except that their sweet humor precludes envy and deflates pride. She’d also scold me, nicely, for thinking that there are ‘types’ of people; Jill accepts everyone as individuals and takes the time to know people fully and flesh out her understanding of them. She’s even nice to annoying people. She has been my comrade in short-hair, adventurous currying, tsunami, yoga, Jaffna, and sundry other mini-feats and features of life.

In what must be a classic form of intermediate mourning, I am currently taking on her identity. I inherited her excess clothing, household goods, and foodstuffs—some rather precipitously flung at me! You try dodging a bottle of sweet-and-sour sauce at two yards. After taking a few last photos of her with Thami (close friend) and Mia (close dog), and waving til I couldn’t see her through the tinted windows of the downroad-jouncing van, I spent a blithely meditative hour amalgamating her kitchen and wardrobe into mine.

Those readers who know me well shall appreciate the particular form of bliss that these activities offer: putting things into appropriately sized jars, consolidating two half-full canisters of milk-powder, reordering the folded-stacked shirts so that Jill’s polos nestled with mine. I’m not going to need to buy unperishables for a while. I will think of Jill when I help myself to semolina, sugar, skirt, and Cetaphil. If anyone needs a litre of 100% aloe gel, I’ve got it, compliments of Jill.

Trying not to get all sappy here. Just want to remember: the friendship and the meals and that beautiful laugh of yours and your funny accent (“melk,” “nooooi?”) and the clarity and the reality. Safe happy travels; no travails.

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