July 9th, 2008

Pam love

My Favorite Thing About Oklahoma

It occurs to me that I never wrote about meeting Cynda (arbitrarium). She moved here from Oklahoma, and I didn't really know her that well from the GGMM, but I figured we might as well meet up. This would also give me a chance to try out that Chinese restaurant on Piedmont my kooky old French landlord had recommended. I did some research and found that apparently all the cooks from that restaurant had gone to Holly's, so that was where we would have lunch on September 8, 2007.

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.

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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.