TO OUR FRIEND, TASHA
Friday, December 11, 2009
It has been nearly fifteen years since I first met, Tasha. I am calling her Tasha, out of respect for her privacy. The name, Tasha, seems to fit her personality even better than her real name. I think if I had been asked to give her a name, I would have chosen the name, Tasha. I never called her that, but then, I never thought I would be writing this story about her.
My name is Sally Anne, and as I said, it started nearly fifteen years ago, and it started with figs. I love figs. Twenty years ago, I was nineteen years old - Seems like yesterday. I had just finished picking a box and a half of figs and was carrying them home, when I got the idea that this would be a good excuse to meet our new neighbor. I know - I said I had picked a box and half of figs, but I was only carrying one box to our neighbor. So, I ate a half a box of figs – I told you I loved figs. Our neighbor had just moved in, and I was anxious to meet her.
I went up on her front porch. In those days we all had front porches with swings, and we would sit out there all summer long, sipping lemonade and chatting. As I knocked on the door I realized that I had a mouth full of figs. I chewed frantically, and swallowed them with a big gulp, just as the door opened. There was Tasha; she was my age with long light brown hair tied in a ponytail with a white ribbon. She was about my size, five foot six, and a half, about my weight of one hundred twenty-five pounds. She had the prettiest smile, and when I offered her some figs, she invited me to sit on the swing. We sat there eating figs, and getting to know each other.
At the time of our meeting, my husband Ben and I had been married for less than a year. Our folks helped us buy our first home. We had only been living there about five or six months when Tasha and her mother moved in next door. It was shortly after they were moved in that I took my dates over for our first visit.
That was the beginning of a long friendship. We saw each other practically every day. As the years passed, we grew closer. We worked for non-profit organizations, doing benefits and fundraisers. She was very organized, and had a way with the people working with her. She always made them feel proud of their accomplishments. I often spoke to my husband about her; always raving about some new thing she did to motivate people. A few years later, when my husband started his own advertising and publishing business, he hired Tasha. She became his executive director.
My husband was very pleased with her work, and Tasha was very devoted and enjoyed working for my husband. Tasha used to tell me the funny stories that happened at work. I learned more about my husband’s business from her than I ever learned from him. The years passed and our friendship continued. I have never met a more honorable person than Tasha.
At that time in our marriage, Ben and I had created a special time for Tuesdays. Tuesday was our day to enjoy each other. He would come home early from the office; a candlelight dinner was waiting with wine, lovely music and a delicious dessert. After dinner, we retired to the bedroom. That’s personal.
Fifteen years into our marriage we were still enjoying our Tuesdays. By this time we also included reading, or watching television, as part of our ritual. At 8 o’clock The World’s Most Wanted came on TV – our favorite program. We enjoyed looking at the wanted faces from other countries, as well as the many people, who were wanted in this country. We were sitting in bed, sharing a bag of potato chips, and sipping wine, when all of a sudden, a face came on the television that made us both gasp at the same time. First thing we have done in unison for a long time.
There, big as day, a face from the past was staring at us. We remembered that face from the way it looked twelve, or thirteen, years ago. It was Tasha; young and vibrant as I remembered her when we first met. We looked carefully, there was no doubt; it was Tasha. We sat there dumbfounded. She was wanted in Russia for aiding in the bombing of a government building. Seventy-four people were killed, and over a hundred were injured. Naturally, that broke up our night together. I don’t think either of us slept much that night, and there was certainly nothing else going on.
To Our Friend, Tasha - to be continued when I find a good publisher.