I'm in a tent, getting dressed, on the banks of the Ottawa River. It's our first morning here and the kids are out with their mother, brushing their teeth and getting ready for a whirlwind day. On a whim I pick up my phone to check my emails — Something I never do; I can't stand this phone. Amongst the usual mess of spam there's a Facebook message from an old schoolmate, the kind of thing that's usually about cats or travel pics... This time however it's different. This time there are no bouncing animals and no Vegas cityscapes: our friend Elsa has died of cancer, it says.
My brain jumps around a few seconds, trying to register the news, make sense of it... And failing. We'd reconnected last April, a few short weeks before a school reunion: she had a film project and tons of other things going on, we talked about family... We chatted as though we'd never stopped seeing each other, as though the years were simply in the way and of no consequence.
Damn this stupid life and the unbearable frailty of it all. And don't tell me about angels or some amazing beach up in the clouds... I'm fucking angry.
I couldn't get her out of my mind the entire weekend, so it's only fitting...
To Elsa, with much, much love.