Sunday, May 23, 2010


Dear Ellen

It's Sunday evening. I just spent the last hour trying to paint my toenails. I thought, it's almost summer, I want to wear sandals and I need to do something about my toes. You would think this is a simple thing............

I went to your drawer to get the clippers and polish and realized why I was putting this whole thing off till now. I saw your little bottle of nail polish and dissolved into tears. "Cajun Shrimp", last years perfect color, took me to a place I didn't want to go. I held the bottle in my hands and remembered last summer, a bittersweet time we shared in Florida. You couldn't take the chance of an infection from a pedicure at a shop so we became each others artistic toe stylists. I would set up shop on the front porch and there you would sit as I carefully applied the color. Layer after layer until it was perfect. You would smile and approve and then insist on painting mine. I would sit quietly while you worked. Such an intimate and loving thing we shared. Afterwards, while we admired our amazing talents, we would laugh and talk, not wanting to go in the house till darkness crept over the porch and the cat would beg for dinner.
It's those things I miss, those things which bring to my knees. The small and sweet things I only knew how to share with you. These days, now almost five months later, I find myself moving through the days in a quiet way. I think of you and smile. I remember our times together and feel comfort in the memory. There are days I don't cry. There are times I even feel happiness in laughter shared with friends.

But, there are "cajun shrimp" moments. I let them in, I sit with them for awhile, I feel the tears flow. I realize the reason I didn't want to paint my nails before this is because you were the last one to paint them. It felt like one more thing I had to let go of.
It took me awhile. They don't look so great and somehow there's polish on my arms.
I know you are laughing at my toes, but I somehow don't mind. Dear Ellen, there are some things which will never be right without you. Toes are one of them.

I love you


danielle said...

dear cathy,

how come you make us smile and laugh...(and cry too) when we should be the ones to make you smile and laugh??? You are an amazing person and ellen's love inside you,makes you shine even more...
I cannot wait to see your toe job very soon...

much love

Anonymous said...

My dear Cathy,
I don't have any words to respond... but I do have a vision of the two of you painting each others toes and it makes me smile... My love to you my friend.


Marie said...


Your writing is beautiful. It reaches in to the core of the pain and the love you shared and the poignancy of your experiences. Thank you for sharing these entries.