I waited outside the Piedmont Library. Cynda, having just moved to the area, got horribly lost and got on the wrong highway or took the wrong exit or both. And then she passed the street she was supposed to turn on and ended up a half mile down the road. I finally directed to her my location.
As she walked across the street to meet me, I thought, "Gosh, she's pretty!" And then she started talking, and I thought, "Gosh, that's a funny accent." Oh, Oklahomans. I think I was the first person she'd ever met from the Internet, but I had no funny accent, unfortunately.
We had lunch, and I'm sure the food was good. We walked down to Fenton's and had ice cream. We started talking about television, and she mentioned she was making her way through The Office. She was almost done with season two. I asked if she wanted to come back to my place (bom chicka bow wow) and watch the rest of it. Sure! She was very trusting of me.
So we went back to my apartment and watched through "Casino Night" and commemorated our meeting with some wacky pictures:
So that was the beginning.
Four days later was my birthday, and she insisted that I have some sort of celebration. Because that's the kind of person she is. So on very short notice (the e-mail was sent out at 1:06 AM on the day of my birth), I was able to get danea, ellric, gymble, and her husband to join us. We had dinner at Pasta Pomodoro, where I got a free appetizer. And then we came back to my apartment and watched 300 because I had really been wanting to see it. Unfortunately, it kind of sucked, but still, thanks to Cynda for renting it. And giving me random mad scientist gifts that I can't bear to open and eat because they're just too bizarre.
Then I don't think I saw her for months, but I paid more attention to her in the GGMM now that I knew her. February was when our friendship really took off, I think, because that's when we had our first music session. As you all know, I have awesome taste in music, and I love to share new music with people. So she came over and we ordered pizza and I played her songs and she took notes. No, really, she took notes. It was cute. jeeperstseepers was there in spirit, and we got her into Muse and Kasabian and Interpol (actual quote two months later: "By the way, I don't know how I lived this long without Interpol.") and Sufjan Stevens (whom we talked about incessantly in the GGMM but she had never actually listened to) and Incubus. I also threw in the Lovemakers and Ladytron and System of a Down (who she didn't want to like but did anyway). Plus several others. It was a big awesome music smorgasbord.
A few days later, we saw Jumper. Upon meeting her, the words "You look really nice" involuntarily escaped my lips. She had come straight from work, and I hadn't seen her all gussied up before. As it was a free screening, we had a lot of waiting time, so we shared the headphones on Pipsqueak, my iPod Shuffle, and I continued to introduce her to music. We would do this frequently. Like when we saw a free screening of Penelope a couple weeks later. Now she had also become a movie buddy in addition to a music buddy.
We saw B.J. Novak. We listened to experimental music and ate Taco Bell. I finally met her husband of five years. We saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall. And Iron Man. And The Fall. Maybe other movies I'm not remembering. We had a good time with being_fulfilled. Oh, and then there was BFD.
Also, I gave her lots and lots of hugs. Because she liked hugs.
Last Tuesday, I called to ask if she could hang out with Tiffani. She couldn't because her mom was in town, but she needed to stop by the next evening and return my X-Files DVDs. I told her it was fine; as you can see, there was a high probability we would see each other soon. But she was very insistent. Wednesday evening came and went with no phone call.
Then. On Thursday morning, I received an e-mail with the subject line "news." I immediately had a bad feeling because generic, neutral subject lines put me on guard: if the news were good, she would have used something happier. The e-mail informed me that she was moving back to Oklahoma on Saturday and she wouldn't be married anymore.
Also, I was her favorite thing about California.
I opened my response with "OH MY GOD WHAT." Because that's how I felt. That's how you normally feel when you discover that one of your friends is unexpectedly leaving the state in two days. Right? I hope no one else has any experience with this. I was expecting to see Hellboy II and The Dark Knight with her. I was expecting to take her to see the Lovemakers. danea was expecting to have a night at her place with caramel appletinis. But now none of that was going to happen.
I canceled my Friday dinner plans and told Cynda we could have one last music session at my place. We met around 7:30 and discussed dinner. Taco Bell was closed for the holiday. It was her last night in California, so I tried to think of something local. Zachary's! Also closed. ("Happy Holidays!" said the website. They'd be happier if you were open.) Finally, I ordered a pizza from the place down the block, the place I'd ordered from in February. Before it was feta; tonight, it was chicken. When she pulled out her wallet, I said, no, this was her goodbye party!
On my couch, we talked, and I patiently waited for her to spill about what the fuck was going on. When the pizza came, I could barely eat anything; I was emotionally distraught on her behalf. We talked and talked, and it was the most personal and open conversation we'd ever had.
We held each other for hours, shifting positions as necessary. All throughout, my playlist, like Cynda's life, was on Random, which meant our musical accompaniment ranged from the wildly appropriate (Sufjan Stevens, "To Be Alone with You") to the wildly inappropriate (Peaches, "Fuck the Pain Away").
Cynda said she didn't know what she would do at the movies now without my music to listen to while waiting. I told her I could take care of that, as I was giving her Pipsqueak. She reacted immediately, which was telling since she's one of the few people who remembers the name of my Shuffle. Pipsqueak was me in musical form, so she could still listen to my music when I wasn't there to provide it. Besides, I had gotten a Shuffle for being a groomsman, and no one needs two Shuffles. Smellerbee would serve me well.
Midnight passed. It was warm, and I had no air-conditioning, and we were sweaty. I didn't think her mom would believe we had just talked. She'd warned Cynda not to come over because she was vulnerable; she'd had a dream about having half-Indian grandchildren. Moms are like that. But Cynda thought I was a gentleman.
I had her write something in my People I Won't See Again for an Indeterminate Amount of Time Book. I played her some M.I.A. and Guster and Le Tigre and some others, a last-ditch effort to introduce her to new music.
Ten months later. 7/5/2008, 1:14 AM, according to Steve/Blinky.
I walked her to her car. She was leaving in about eight hours. We hugged against her car, the incline pushing her into me. We didn't want to let each other go. A car passed by and ruined the moment.