Decades before Political Correctness and as a child in nursery school, we sang about ten little Indians sleeping in a bed. One rolled over then there were nine. When nine little Indians were in the bed and one rolled over there were eight.
I now see it as a metaphor for death. Instead of Indians falling off a bed, friends, dear friends are falling out of life.
It started three years ago with the loss of Mardy, with whom I had 53 years of friendship going back to high school when the same boy dated us both. We decided we liked each better than him and we shared all the bad and good things thereafter.
Then last November, Babette, the green grocer, came to my door to tell me Barbara had died in the doctor's office after telling a joke. Barbara had walked to the office after having a chat with my husband. A great death for her. Terrible for us.
In a small village the word had spread within an hour and Babette had a key to Barbara's house and found her address book but had no idea who should be called. She knew I would -- I did.
Walking by her store front now converted into a regular house is as the man who sells sausage says, "It isn't right, I miss her."
I know. We were neighbors on Wigglesworth Street and on Delle Avenue in Boston. We owned a house together at one time in France.
Barbara and I shared stories and lives since 1978 and worried about each others kids. We plotted how to make our lives better, what had to be done to reach our dreams.
I am happy she had an easy death. I will never be happy she died.
A Swiss gentleman I dated for 14 years died on Sunday. He was ten years older than I am now. He helped my French.
There would be times he would be with my daughter and his kids and he and I would speak French. He would speak German with my daughter. I spoke Franglais with two of his children and French with other and sometimes Spanish was added when his daughter-in-law was with us. In a restaurant, any multi-lingual waiter serving the table would open and close his mouth trying to figure out which language to use. More than once they just placed a menu on the table and left.
Our relationship's ending was more a drifting away without rancor or pain.
I want to tuck all the remaining Indians whom I know into their beds where they won't roll out of bed and stay in my life.