Monday, November 3, 2008

silence, absence and sorrow

This picture was taken on November the first in the march against violence organized by a group called Peace for New Orleans leaded by Charles Anderson. Many thanks to them, for their support and the portraits they made to remember Jessica.

I am sure, I am not the only one to whom counseling has not been enough in helping to deal with Jessica's murder and absence. I know Kelly is going through the same state as me, even though we know we have each other, there is still a big gap of silence at the end of all our talks, a fear to uncertainty and anger for feeling so powerless. Kelly is my biggest support now, and I love her so much for being there always for me. Poor her, she has to answer my calls in the middle of the night, has to hear most of my problems (which I know are silly and ridicule, in comparison to most of the people in this world that struggle to survive and to get to the next day), no matter what she is there, always strong from the outside.

I promised to myself I would ever again take my friends for granted. Kelly, Jessica and I were looking forward for the opportunity to hang out together, but that never happened. This is how Kelly came into our lives.

Kelly and I became close friends a year ago or so. But we knew long before that, since we took (with Jessica) an entomology class together at UNO and since then I think we liked each other. We did not hang out while we were taking the class, it was my first semester here, I lived at the dorms and I was too worried about other things like doing well in graduate school, research, publications, a dissertation, etc.. to even think in making friends. Jessica was my first American friend, and she was the only one for a long period of time. She was the first person I took a bus with, and the first person I drunk a margarita with, I ought most of experiences in New Orleans to Jessica and of course to her unbeatable ability in persuading me to get out of the house and have fun. Back to Kelly...we ran into each other many times here at school, we would, over and over again exchange phone numbers, but we did not hang out until last year. Kelly invited me to the “Nickel a dance”, I went and the next week I had Jessica sick of me telling her about Kelly, and the great time we had had. Later I learned Kelly had admired the way I had arranged my entomological collection, I was liking her even more because of that..haha!!.

She and Jessica are much more alike than (I feel) I am to either of them, and that was why I felt that Jessica needed to meet Kelly again. Therefore, I started talking to each of them separately about the other one, pushing an encounter. I would tell Jessica how cool Kelly was, how gorgeous I thought her house was. I even made a comment that I knew would mean a lot to Jessica. Kelly did not have a TV either. I knew that was the key point, I used it and it worked. 

They became friends some time before I left for the summer. They started to work together and on several occasions they went out for dinner, drinks, and dancing. What appeared to me is that their pride prevented them from becoming fast friends, but allowed them to become honest friends. There were many things they would argue about just for the sake of disagreeing, but the one thing they would agree on is about a city that they both loved, New Orleans. A city that they believed held many experiences to enjoy. One time Jessica was complaining how she couldn’t believed that she had never had a Sazerac, Kelly promised to go to get one with her. She said since the Fairmont was closed, they could go to the Ritz’s smoking lounge and enjoy one. They planed to go one night. They planned to share many such evenings. They were to eat crab cakes and fried green tomatoes at the Pelican Club. Jessica loved crab cakes and enjoyed tasting them from all different restaurants and then compare as to which restaurant had the best crab cakes. They planned to listen to traditional jazz at the Palm Court. They planned to go to the Bywater art market and then take lunch somewhere in her neighborhood. Jessica loved her neighborhood. She would repeat that sentiment many times in an evening especially after happening upon a brass band Friday night on Frenchmen. Jessica had just recently donated to NPR her favorite radio station. She had donated a dollar a day and received a coupon book to eat at many of New Orleans’ fine restaurants. Kelly had told me, she called late one evening to her house all excited about sharing the coupons and trying all these restaurants that she had not known. Jessica knew how much Kelly enjoyed eating out by the many conversations that would revolve around food, service, and the rooms at restaurants. Jessica wanted very much to share with Kelly these new tastes and experiences to share these great New Orleans moments with another sister of NOLA . Kelly tells me, they would talk about what we, the three of us, were going to do once I came back from Colombia. They planned on going, the three of us, for salsa dancing and for chocolate martinis.

I tried chocolate martinis on Saturday, with Kelly and Diego, the famous chocolate martinis. We made a toast in honor of Jessica. It was hard to be there without her, because I know how much she wanted the three of us to hang out. We never did and the only thing I could do was to make sure I enjoyed every sip of my martini. Just like my Jessica would have liked. 

I think a lot of whoever did this to Jessica, I wish he/she could feel the silence, the emptiness, and the sorrow his/her actions leave in our life. I wish he/she could realize that this is killing us. All of us; but also, that he/she can stop the guilt and remorse, and give some peace to us and Jessica by facing the consequences and turning himself/herself in. It might be naive on my part to ask for this, but deep in our hearts and souls we know, we all make mistakes. We all know, also, there is always something we can do about it.

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