I’ve been struggling with this since last May and I’ll struggle with it for the rest of my life. Could I have saved my friend Kathy? It seems trite, but she was there so much for me, even when it was obvious she was having severe mental problems. At what point am I culpable for what happened to her?
I met Kathy in 1997. I remember watching her being interviewed by Andy Fleming, our assistant manager at BN. I bonded with her, like all the young people did. She was fun, and sassy, and she smoked. But our friendship lasted beyond that. She never strayed from supporting me when a co-worker accused me of bad things; even when she was tending to her dying mother she kept in touch with me. And after that, when I was struggling, between jobs, I remember one summer I spent every other weekend with her.
To spend the weekend at Kathy’s was like staying in a personalized bed and bath. She had coffee and a lovely breakfast ready, regardless how much you had drunk the night before. And the bed! Fresh sheets, she always made sure you had sleep clothes, offered warm socks and extra blankets. But before that, you’d stay up half the night watching Reno 911 or Chelsea Handler.
And the food. OH MY GOD, THE FOOD. It was simple but wonderful. Kathy would cook a nice dinner if Byron was about. After that, snacks galore. I ate my way through a back of home-made pork cracklins one time.
Most of the time it was just she and me. I can see her now, or the outline of her. I think I failed her because I never told her how she saved my life. And All I can do now is see her in my mind, which is bull-shit, because she was always one of the grounding forces in my life.