Charlotte, as she preferred to be called, died peacefully on March 18th at the tender age of 84. It is not my intention to be flippant in the use of “tender age” rather than “ripe old age”. My dearest friend didn’t want anything to do with old people and became as if five-years-old again in her later years. In fact, I was wont to call her Baby Charlotte, a nickname she had when she was a much younger woman, before I knew her.
Charlotte said, “I’m not going to die tonight” and I’m guessing through the sheer force of her indomitable spirit, she did survive until 12:35am on the 18th. I am devastated. Once the shock wore off that first day, I felt as if a rocket launcher sent a missile through my chest. The wound was both gaping and terrible.
She got mad at me when I got fat and grew my hair out, as I was no longer “chic”. But, in general, to her, I moved the sun and the stars. I was the smartest kid on the block. Who is going to ever think that of me again, I wonder… Who am I, if not seen through Charlotte’s eyes?
We joined households seven years ago and she was the first person I spoke to in the morning and the last person I said “sleep well” to every night. Charlotte was my best friend. She was also the person to whom I read scenes and dialogue and talked about conflict and action and plays and life and politics and animals and controversial issues in the news.
Charlotte studied at the Pasadena Playhouse back in the day, did summer stock, and moved to New York where she wore a mink hat with a black ribbon, high heels, red lipstick, gloves, and worked for an esteemed theatrical producer. Later, in Los Angeles, she worked as a casting assistant on many recognizable films and television shows.
While I mourn my friend and find myself surrounded by silence, I wonder, now who is going to read my work? Who is going to be my sounding board, my confidant, my champion, my best friend, my muse? I wonder if I’m strong enough to stand alone. I am certain she was prepping me for this day. God, I miss her.