I've had some trouble trying to think of what to say about Thelma's death on Saturday morning. It was certainly expected, and it is good that she isn't suffering anymore. It 's also good that she didn't have to live out the rest of her life in circumstances that she would have hated. But those are words that mean nothing. Thelma should have lived forever. I should still be able to pick up the phone and call her, talk to her, laugh with her. We should still be having lobster stew at Billy's, still buying candy at Bracken's. We should be making plans for our next trip, deciding on which motel. We should be thinking of our annual trips to Scoodic Point, our visits to the galleries. We ought to be assembling our painting stuff, striking out for some old farm. We should be in Vermont, at that Inn where she got me to teach that workshop. Or we should take another car trip to Florida, to Washington DC. We should go back to the Catskills. We should see more antique places, paw through more junk at yard sales. We should swap more recipes, exchange more paintings, decorate more Christmas Trees, set up more still lifes. We should go to Corea and visit Jean again, maybe visit Betsy. Most of all we should go back to Rockport. We should go there over and over again until we have memmorized the lighthouse, Front Beach, Atlantic Avenue, Good Harbor Beach, the headlands, Motif no.1, Gloucester. And when we have memorized them, we should keep going back to see them new again. We should sit at hundreds more tables with Betty Lou, talk for hundreds more hours about art, about life.
For more than thirty years I rode in the passenger seat of one of her enormous cars as we drove somewhere wonderful. I settled in and let the sound of her voice envelop me, feeling absolutely safe and happy, knowing that as long as I was with her, nothing bad could ever happen.