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July 12th, 1999

And That's It
Leslie, the woman who sat across from me at work for over a year, whom I got to know and respect, who kept a large jar of peanuts on her desk that I would raid so often that I got into the habit of buying big bags of peanuts across the street at Smart and Final to keep that jar filled and my welcome intact, just a small joke between us, those peanuts; who asked me about shooting pictures at her brother's wedding last fall and then forgot to mention it was happening last weekend, who was known and liked, died Saturday of a massive heart attack at UC Hospital. She left a husband, a daughter and a nephew who's mother, her sister, died last year at the age of 40 under similar circumstances. We learned of her death this morning.

Perhaps it's the feeling that this will happen to each of us in our turn, that our time will inevitably come and our name too will be whispered in a hallway, "did you hear?", but I'm not sure that's what I'm feeling at all, a certain numbness perhaps, a certain loneliness, not necessarily upsetting, thinking a bit about my trip to Seattle on Thursday, fixing a dinner as I always fix dinner, the television playing in the background, writing this, wondering. A day passes and a life passes. And the next day comes and you start that next day much as you started the last. Family members came in this morning to clear her desk, her husband, her daughter, staying to talk briefly with members of her working group. And then they left. An empty cubicle.

We all started somewhere, out of the gate and into this world as best we were able. Some of us did this, some of us did that. Along the way we made friends, not many, and we shared what we could of our lives, our little adventures. And now one leaves following the path she was given. A friend at work, a favorite uncle, a father, a friend from school, someone met over dinner: One day they're gone, unable to share, if only in passing, a look, a wave in the hall.

And that's it.

The banner photograph was taken recently at the office with the digital camera.