It’s late evening when I hear about a high school classmate’s death. I learn via an email. My reaction is Whaaaat? Thinking I’ve misread the email, I reread it. Then I read it aloud to my husband, hoping he’ll hear a misunderstanding of the message.
On my way to town, I drive past houses where smoke from chimneys curls upward. It’s comforting to watch the updraft. I suddenly recall the boxy houses with chimneys that I once drew with a pencil as a child, always a curl of smoke climbing.
Jimmy, my husband, actually posed this question in the truck. I laughed and changed the topic. I could not deal with it at the time. Later, I wrote this letter. (I kept it private and did not share it with him for three weeks.)