I saw this on my walk today and thought about you. You were the blonde woman with the radiant smile at the writer’s retreat. Your smile, your hair, they were full and sweet and from your hand-knit sweater I can tell you are the kind of woman who brings people homemade bread and vegetables from your garden. It is that kind of place, this little island, and you are that kind of woman.
That year my room-mate Francois was a med school drop out who was studying pharmacology, both academically and personally. He had drugs for waking up, falling asleep, calming down and perking up. Still it never occurred to me that he was depressed until a week before Christmas when he shut down the Champlain bridge by threatening to jump. The next day his dad came to pack up his things and within a few hours it seemed like every trace of my room-mate and his marvelous medicine supply were gone.
I don’t know why Francois was sad but I knew why I was. I was twenty-three and newly divorced, publicly humiliated both by my unfounded belief in happy endings and my unfaithful husband. My friends and family had sympathy in small amounts, equivalent I realized, to their initial enthusiasm when I’d gotten married three years before.