“I’m making out a will,” I announced casually during dinner with an old friend.
“Humm,” was her response.
Prior to making this remark I had not given much thought to what kind of reaction such a comment would yield, but upon actually making the pronouncement I realized I had really expected much more.
Like, Oh my God, are you sick?”
Then I realized that as fellow journalists she would never have expected me to bury the lead. An eloquent example of which was offered once by a professor of mine with this awful breach of good storytelling.
“Congress met today,” he began.
“It was a lively session.
The President was impeached.”
Bearing that rule in mind I understood that if the news were of a critical nature she would have expected me to start it that way with something akin to, “Hey, I’m dying. I need a will.“
Notwithstanding a dire necessity, a will is simply a set of legal instructions for use sometime in the distant future on behalf of you for the benefit of others.
Unless of course you want it to be something more. A sweet farewell on your part combined with an act of remembrance on theirs.
So in the spirit of such things I said,
“Is there anything you want?”
That got her attention.
“I told you already,” she answered without hesitation. “That gold bracelet of yours.”
“Ah, yes” I smiled, recollecting the first time she had mentioned her covetous appreciation of the weighty arm ornament.
“It’s yours,” I said.
Note to self: Make good on promise or suffer severe consequences. I instantly had visions of a scene of operatic proportions at my wake: She, climbing over the casket clutching at my lifeless wrist while screaming, “She promised. It’s mine.”
You think I jest? This is the kind of woman who knows what she wants and does not stand on ceremony in her pursuit of it.
Take, for example, her memorable encounter with the singer Donnie Osmond.
During a break from our radio show she locked eyes on the performer as he made his way into someone else’s studio. He never made it, of course, because in a flash she screamed his name, sprinted down the hallway and leapt into his arms. She did the same thing a few months later with Lionel Richie.
My friend is irrepressible and possesses oodles of charm so both men reacted with such enthusiasm and good cheer that I have now become a lifelong fan of both.
There are other examples of her commitment to sensual self expression which will go unmentioned but suffice to say it did not surprise me that, when pushed, she would make a request for an item of jewelry I would no longer be needing.
The appreciation and pursuit of pearls, gold, diamonds and the like are forever the object of her desire. During dinner she mentioned a recent trip into Tiffany’s in New York City where she swooned when she saw, and then nearly fainted when she actually tried on a huge diamond cuff she espied under lock and key.
Charming the salesman he removed the colossal bit of bling from its case and loosely draped it over her wrist. Not satisfied with the mere suggestion of ownership she insisted he actually fasten the clasp so she could experience the full fantasy of the super rich. Her afternoon schedule was loose so she proceeded to sashay about the shop gloriously channeling Audrey Hepburn for selfie after selfie. The bracelet cost $500-thousand dollars but it made her feel like a million bucks.
“Good jewelry will do that,” she once told me.
“I am going to write them,” she said musing over the Tiffany memory like you do a romantic encounter. “They made my day.”
Then she asked, “What do you want from me?”
Well, as we had decided to go down this road I gave it serious thought only to come to a decision almost immediately.
“Your Cartier sunglasses,” I blurted out.
I remember when she came into the studio wearing them for the first time.They were a sensational accessory. Appropriately, just like jewelry.
“That’s perfect”! she exclaimed agreeing that this was an ideal choice and collapsing into a fit of giggles recounting the drama surrounding her pricey purchase which included a temporary bout of uncharacteristic insecurity.
“Remember how I sold them to you,” she asked, “because I thought they were too fabulous for me?”
I did. I also remembered what followed. Not simply buyer’s remorse. But an almost religious revelation as the fog cleared and she once again saw clearly what had prompted her to buy those fantastic spectacles in the first place.
“Yes,” she suddenly realized. “I am fabulous enough!”
Where only mere days before she had considered herself unworthy of such an extravagance she had now become transformed and had a new request.
“I want to buy them back,” she told me.
And she still has them to this day -safekeeping them for me.
We both expect it will be years before we ever have to make good on our promises. But, our pact ensures that each will remember the other by giving a gift of something we treasure to someone we treasure.