today i had a lunch meeting with program coordinator and new fellowship director to discuss the internship i just completed. it was my first time in the office since i have been back. when i walked in, the lights in the hall leading to the actual offices were dimmed. (it is that kind of relaxed office atmosphere, so it wasn't completely alien that the lights were like that, but it is still an abnormal occurrence.) i immediately thought that it was fitting, as if the very building was mourning the loss of the amazing fellowship director.
the three of us left to go to lunch. they asked me if i had any preference; i said no. consequently, they took me to a restaurant that fellowship director had taken me to once. they kept asking questions such as, "so how was it?" and i was just giving them one-line answers, "oh it was nice. really nice." silence.
when we sat down at the table, i said, "i'm sorry for being so quiet. it is just strange..." program coordinator gave me an understanding look, apparently thinking i was going to say something like, "...to be back home again," because when i said, "...to be at the office again without f.d." her face first registered shock, then sorrow. she had probably expected for us to discuss the loss of f.d. at some point but i guess she didn't see it coming at that point, and when she realized what i was saying, she had to fight back tears. she started saying something about how much f.d. thought of me, which was a bit much for me, when thankfully the waiter came over to take the drink order. after he left, we looked at the menus in silence. i wiped my eyes.
the rest of the lunch was fine. when we went back to the office and said our goodbyes, however, p.c. said to me that she just tells herself every day how lucky she was to have known f.d. she looked as if she would burst into tears, even more than she had in the restaurant. i just let her words pass over me and tried to look like i agreed with what she was saying - i did, but my face wouldn't register it. if i allowed myself to really think about it, i would have gotten overly emotional in the office. i didn't trust myself.
death boggles my mind. i can't really fathom it. how can she just not be here anymore? she was here when i left; i saw her the night before at our ceremony. how can people just go away, never to return? like in hannah and her sisters when woody allen thinks he has a brain tumor and he says to himself, "nothing's gonna happen to you. you're in the middle of new york city. this is your town. you're surrounded by people and traffic and restaurants. i mean, god, how can you just one day . . . vanish?"