I’ve rated them from one through four smileys. Perhaps these, more than my abstract thoughts elsewhere in the website, will give you an idea of
what the warmth was to me. I find it interesting that these memories still make me feel warm even though I now know the kind of person she is.



☺☺☺☺

The day in winter 2006 when I first spoke with her at length. She was giving me some information related to a project I’d been assigned, and we ended up talking for several hours. She did most of the talking because she was educating me on a particular software application and responding to the questions I’d come up with during my research. This memory probably seems an odd selection for four smileys, but I’ve included it because it was then that I first felt that warm feeling for her. A small number of people you meet in life will, if you’re open, just soak into you; the vast majority will not.

For me, four things have to happen before I can feel warmth for a person: I have to be in her presence for a certain amount of time, but it has to be contiguous time rather than time that has been accumulated across multiple encounters with her; I have to speak with her, which includes hearing her voice; I have to see her; and I have to touch her in some small way. All of those things happened on that day, and I felt the warmth. The last time I’d felt it was almost exactly one and a half years before, with Julie in France. But that was love, which is even better...



☺☺

The several days in spring 2006, shortly after she’d closed on the purchase of a house, when she would come by my desk and tell me about the latest remodeling projects she had in mind. She kept bopping around like a pinball, never able to stand still for long, because for her it was all so rewarding. Her smile was at its best then because it was simply the overflow of her happiness and enthusiasm...like the pattern made by the water that splashes out of a fountain, it was simply the continuation outside of what was happening inside.



☺☺☺☺

The day of her surgery in summer 2006. I said a prayer for her; I asked God to make her well, and I said that if, in the cosmic balance of things, He needed to take something from someone in order to give something to her, He could take whatever He needed from me. I’m not what people think of when they think of a particularly good person, so it’s nice for me when I have such a warm feeling for another person. And to top it off, I got hit on in a bar that night after work...

This is an example of what I mean by not being a particularly good person. I was in Granada, Spain, in winter 2005. An elderly man suddenly dropped to the sidewalk, apparently dead. People clustered around, doing this and that. I didn’t know CPR, so I figured there was nothing I could do. I didn’t feel any sadness or human loss, I just thought
You don’t see that every day.



☺☺☺

The day in summer 2007 when she came by my desk and said she’d like to have lunch with me but she’d broken a strap or a heel, I don’t remember which, on one of her shoes, so we’d have to go someplace nearby. I said the weather was nice so let’s try to walk somewhere. She went away for a while and then came back wearing a new pair of sandals, and off we went. She was wearing a summer dress and she was lightly flirting in the way she showed off her legs and her new sandals. This was just a couple weeks after the end of her time together with her friend from college, and I felt she wanted some extra attention. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it made me happy to give her that attention.



☺☺

The day in summer 2007 when she gave me a ride to Bucktown so I could meet my daughter, who was visiting from outstate. We walked to the subway, passed through the gate, and were waiting for a train. Then she remembered she’d driven to work that day. So we walked back to her car...




The day we stopped at Moonstruck Chocolatier after lunch one day in summer 2007. I’d arranged beforehand for the staff to put op a sign renaming the Chocolate Peanut Butter cheesecake to The Anita Lopez Cheesecake because it was her favorite dessert.



☺☺

The day in winter 2007 when she quietly sang Wishing on a Star during our lunch. I don’t remember how the song came up, but I thought it was cute thing to do, and she had a nice voice.




The night we were leaving the building to walk back, late in December 2007, and she was rooting around in her handbag for something. She ended up pulling out the little snap-box I gave her daughter in their Christmas grab-bag; she said her daughter liked it so much she wanted to take it everywhere, but Ms. Lopez was afraid her daughter would lose it.



☺☺☺☺

New Year’s Eve 2007. I stopped by her desk on my way out and she said she wasn’t feeling well but that she needed something to eat. I went to Bennigan’s downstairs and brought back a bowl of soup for her. I always felt particularly warm when I was able to make her life better, but for her this was just another free meal when she was hungry. She didn’t think about how nice it was to have a friend who enjoyed doing something like that for her, and so for her there’s nothing to remember about this time. But for me, if I had to pick my single fondest memory of her, this would be it. What ends up as your fondest memory of someone is not necessarily the same as what was your fondest time while you were living it with them, but in this case, for me, it is. And somehow that makes me feel good.



☺☺

The first time I saw her wearing the silver seashell earrings I gave her for Christmas 2007.



☺☺

The first time I saw her all bundled up in the shearling mittens and cashmere scarf I gave her for Valentine’s Day 2008. I told her she’d always had my friendship to help keep her warm on the inside, and that now she had these things to help keep her warm on the outside.




The time in winter 2008 when I was working on a project involving an IT application for which she was the subject matter expert. She helped me to understand the business aspect of the application and she showed me the software programs that were involved. Eventually I came up with a plan; when I explained it to her, she said it was all wrong. But it turned out to be spot-on; not a single problem was found during the subsequent product verification phase. I sent her an e-mail referring to my work as FLAWLESS©; she thought that was so funny she shared it with a coworker. Then I drew a picture on a Post-It note and stuck it on the cabinet overhanging her desk; it depicted me as The God of Applications Programming, with a lightning bolt in my hand and crushing various IT applications underfoot. I thought that was funny, and apparently she did, too, because she kept the picture up for a month. One day I showed it to my manager and he thought it was hilarious, and that was the beginning of the FLAWLESS© humor.




The day in winter 2008 when I helped her tweak her daughter’s essay assignment. I hope she explained to her daughter how and why each of those changes was an improvement.



☺☺☺

Making Easter baskets for her and her daughter in 2008. I put a lot of time and care into them—a woven reed basket, cellulose Easter grass, a bunch of fine chocolates and a few small gifts, all wrapped in purple cellophane for her and green cellophane for her daughter. I knew no one else was going to take time to do that for her, and I thought she might not take time to do that for her daughter. I remembered how much I liked that kind of thing when I was a kid...well, that and trading my Jordan almonds for my brother’s or sister’s foil-wrapped chocolate eggs.



☺☺☺☺

The 2008 boat party, particularly the good-night hug on her porch at the end of the evening. That hug was a perfect example of the warmth I felt for her. I just held her closely and quietly for a short time, no roaming hands or anything like that...sometimes stillness is better than motion. I didn’t feel much coming from her, but that wasn’t necessary for me to feel warm.



☺☺☺

Watching her open her 2008 birthday grab-bag at Sayat Nova. She unwrapped everything so carefully and she enjoyed everything so much.



☺☺

The first time I saw her wearing the Georg Jensen green agate pendant and the Tahitian green pearl earrings I gave her for her birthday 2008. I’d told her they’d be perfect on her, and indeed they were.

GJ
Georg Jensen 2008 signature piece



The time in summer 2008 when I was at the Tommy Bahama store and she called me about lunch. We agreed to meet out front, and I was standing there on the sidewalk and she just rolled right on by without even seeing me. For fun, I called her on her cell just as I was catching up to her from behind and putting a hand on her shoulder. For some reason, this kind of quirky thing was one of the reasons I enjoyed spending time with her. It made her unique in a head-in-the-clouds way.



These memories will always be a source of happiness for me. Not because of what she brought to them, but because of what I brought to them. They’re proof that it really is better to give than to receive, and it saddened me immensely to realize that I got more out of our friendship than she did. All she got from our times together was attention and money; I got to feel warm again.
The difference between what is given and what is received...

The things you give are better than the things you receive because they really come from within you. When I gave her that pendant, it wasn’t really about the pendant; someone else designed and made that. It was about the time I spent finding it, the way I wrapped it, and most of all, it was about the warm feeling that caused me to want to give her something nice.



Isn’t it amazing that all those times we were together, I was feeling that nice warmth, not just for her but in general, and she was simply feeling
Isn’t it nice that someone’s finally giving me all the attention I deserve? It will never cease to be a wonder to me that two so very different feelings can coexist in such a small space.


She knew she was using me, and she was planning to use me even more, all the while knowing she was not a real friend to me. I wonder what she thought I was getting from all our time together, or if she even cared enough to wonder about that...

As for me, in some ways it has sickened my heart to have known her. But the pure and simple warmth I felt for her will forever be one of the most beautiful feelings I’ve had in all of life, and my role in that will forever be one of the most beautiful memories I’ve had in all of life.