Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Goodbye to A Wonderful Woman

Nevada Memorial Speech

I met Nevada when I came to work at Wunderman, an ad agency in Dearborn. I was the newest digital copywriter. Nevada was the only other female writer, so I was excited to meet her.

I noticed she had the same magnet on her cube wall that I had at home and decided to tell her, figuring it was a good ice breaker.

Nevada looked over at me, and snarled a snarky comment. I remember thinking,

“That girl dosen’t like small talk. Don’t speak to her, until you have something to say.”

I don’t really remember when it all changed. All I know is once we started talking we never shut up. We’re both Gemini’s and very chatty.

We spent our lunch breaks shopping for fencing material, fabric or at TJ Maxx, trying on all the crazy hats.

She knew how to dress herself and her friends. Whenever we shopped together, she’d pick out stuff for me and I’d tell her that’s not going to fit or that’s not going to look good. She’d insist I try it on anyway and it was always perfect.

This past March we went to Chicago to visit our friend Rina, and the two of them shoved me in a dressing room and kept insisting that I try on different dresses. Even though I’m older than both of them, they treated me like their little sister and liked telling me what to do:

“You will go out and drink all night. You will take a nap. You will talk to men at the bar. And worst of all, you will go out dancing.”

But they did it with such love, I couldn’t get upset with them for looking after me and that’s what Nevada always did.

Nevada liked to talk a lot, although not on the phone as any of her friends will tell you.
I wore her down after a while though.

She would talk to me on the phone whenever I needed her. One night in particular, I was having an anxiety attack late at night and I called Nevada. She talked to me for over an hour, until I was totally calm and could fall asleep peacefully.

Besides, she knew better than to allow me to text her while driving, so she allowed me to call her often.

Nevada was a pied piper for us all. Just look around. At least 5 of her friends started getting our haircut at Red in Birmingham by Sara after Nevada’s hair looked so great.

Thanks, Sara. (shameless plug. Red is located on Old Woodward).

Nevada’s infectious joy at being in love was evident, no matter how much she pretended otherwise. I remember the first time she got flowers at work, from Trevor. Orchids.

The look on her face, and her smile was one of somebody completely smitten, and when I said,

“Looks like he’s going to be around a while,”

Nevada played coy saying, “I’m not sure yet.”

I said, “You can pretend all you want, but it’s pretty clear this guy has gotten to you.”

Only with time, would we all understand how true that was.

And because she was in love and I’m single she wanted me to meet somebody and
she took it upon herself to be my online dating pimp.

Nevada set up a profile for me on Craig’s list and screened all the respondents and only forwarded ones that she deemed worthy. She told me, “ I knew you’d give up with the first penis picture.”

She was right. J I didn’t do any better in person. This summer, I’d come home from a weekend up north with my friend Connie, explaining we’d gone out to the bar. I’d refused a drink from a cute guy across the bar, because I didn’t think he’d bought it for me.

Nevada didn’t hesitate to tell me, “ You’re just a total moron, when it comes to men and dating.” And yet, that’s how she showed she cared. She had a way of insulting you but making you feel very loved at the same time. She made me see myself in unexpected ways.

I had the most fun with her than I did with anybody else. We’d laugh so hard at the stupidest things. Her and Trevor used to host the best parties. One of my favorites, was at her house in Detroit, she’d named it, “A Wino and Cheese Party.” All guests were asked to bring cheap wine and any orange cheese product, like Cheetos or Cheese Whiz. A big group of us sat in her backyard drank and ate processed cheese, until the wee hours.

Another thing we did all the time was walk. Now, I suppose they started out, as an exercise in fitness, but what they ended up as were our walking therapy sessions. Nevada charted out new projects, or gifts for friends, and we talked about nothing. That was everything.

Often, we walked to either Bastone or Black Lotus and ended up with beer or pizza. I don’t think we ever lost much weight, but we sure had a good time.

I could tell her anything. My heart was always safe in her company and vice versa.
Nevada was never judgmental, but was gifted at asking pointed questions, so you’d draw your own conclusions.

The last time I saw Nevada, she was about to leave for California, and I’d told her I’d take her shopping to get out of the house.
She told me that was cool, because they’d be celebrating Trevor’s birthday out there and she needed to get his gift.

After I’d brought her back to Trevor’s, we found him on the porch, having a drink and smoking a cigar. Nevada sat down on the porch and typed out specific instructions for me on how to care for her plants, while she was gone.

As I got up to go home, I said something about flying safe and being careful.

In her typical Nevada way, she said, “ Wouldn’t that be ironic if I died in a plane crash on my way to get brain surgery?”

I laughed, and said, “I don’t really want you and Trevor to check out like, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, so if you could just come back that’d be great.”

She laughed.

And then I hugged her goodbye.

I had no idea it would be the last time.



We used to joke about living in the nursing home together.

You teased, I’d be saying hi to everyone and you’d be grumpy to all that walked by.

I’m going to keep saying hi.

Because I know somewhere you’re answering hello.


Barrie said...

very touching kelly. i'm glad you got to say this to others who loved her as much as you did.

p.s. you can call me whenever, wherever, however. i'll keep my phone close by.

LQ said...

It's perfect.

Courtney said...

what a lovely, lovely, lovely tribute to your friend. I am so impressed by your strength and endurance, Kelly. This year has really put you through the ringer and you've come out fighting. You are one amazing woman.