Everything changed this year but I can't seem to do a damn thing about it. I am still churning over the same sketches I made in the middle of the night July 1st 2017. Two girls sipping tea on the patio of The Allis. Two girls gazing up at a German periodontist bathed in the warm light of a crystal chandelier in the grand entrance of The Allis. Two girls sprawled over the steps of the Allis à la Vanity Fair (a weirdly common composition for a couple of 25 year olds regularly seen in matching Target rompers). Basically, I have filled a very ugly jar with one year's worth of every iteration around two girls declaring their massive potential in life at The Allis.
1. I keep going back to The Allis. I mean not actually physically going there. I would be so poor. But I keep revisiting those off-hued chairs in my mind. It was March and Gin proposed a night of our favorite activity, pretending to be really classy over martinis in the West Loop. This was back in the day when this blog, and hers, were just grand concepts over espresso and Pellegrino every Sunday morning. As I drew myself in sequins she would write essays on the normalization of panic disorder in daily conversation. Even as we left the coffee shop and drifted to Soho House, it was hard to detach ourselves from these potential outlets. I continued to talk about my favorite shade of black while she gently pushed the conversation into the troubles of quarter-life crises. She had this incredible ability to be extraordinarily open about her insecurities, in turn making her the most confident lady on the face of the earth and drawing other incredible humans toward her. Which is likely why the most graceful, motherly German periodontist by way of Seattle sought us out that night. She claimed there were no available seats while she waited on a friend, but I saw right through that. She just found two girls in need of successful woman insight and decided to change some lives. This mystery woman asked us to recount our painstakingly millennial conversation of self-doubt and replied with heaps of advice on fighting harder to become exemplary people, absorbing all the knowledge we can in every state of happiness to lead to more thoughtful decision making, and rising above our definition of self-worth to take what we want from life. Then she looked up, saw her friend and promptly bid us adieu. Our next coffee trip began with Ginny's plans to quit her job and pursue Library Science, or as she put it "a life of educating children through the power of books."
2. I bought the jar some time after July 1st. This was only the second jar of its kind in my backpack. The first one is stout and glass with a red plastic top. It is full of paper cranes and shreds of notes and a single marble. I was 18 when I got it. Fast forward 7 years to sitting in my friend's car after and unsuccessful trip to the burbs and I declared the need for another container of some sort so to Foursided we went. I don't know what I was looking for but I can tell you I left with a mason jar covered in bumble bees. A year's worth of scribbly sketches of two girls at The Allis now live inside of an overpriced bumble bee jar. I fucking hate that jar.
3. I am friends with a very cool boy named Chauncey. He is an opera singer in Boston (I told you he is cool). I recently spent two hours crying in a recital hall as he sang his way through four languages of beautiful lyrics. I was very confident that I never had and never would hear anything so beautiful for the rest of life. Then he broke from character to tell us he had one piece left, a piece near and dear to his and all of our friend's hearts. He referenced the dedication in his pamphlet and spoke to the legendary spirit of Ginny before easing into the most stunning rendition of Edelweiss. In that instant I realized the power of letting someone else in on those most intimate and necessary art forms we use to honor the ones we love.
I have spent a solid year trying to reconcile my fear of publicly grieving with my desire to create even a fraction of a tribute Ginny. Today, one year later, I want to take just a shred of what I learned from you and make the world a tiny bit more open to the gamut of emotions humans feel each day, whether that be grief, pride, or just really really really heartbroken. I love you Gin.