*Writer’s note: I started this post over the solstice weekend and didn’t finish it before Christmas. I’m posting it now, feeling like a bad student turning in a late paper. 

I had a friend – an adopted grandmother – named Fay. Fay nearly lived to be 100 years old, but passed a few weeks before her birthday, April 2012. (She was born the same week that the Titanic sank, for reference.)

We played dominos (her favorite) the Christmas before she died and I told her I was going to take her to Wendover (a shady casino town on the border of Nevada) for her birthday. When my mother called a few months later to tell me she was gone I asked, “she knew I was kidding, right? I wasn’t going to MAKE her go?!”

I was at a store today shopping for a few stocking stuffer gifts and I saw a tower of colorful boxes in the floral department, packaged neatly for the holidays. There were a few paper whites and other planted bulb flowers, but mostly it was a tower of amaryllis.

I used to buy one for Fay every year, and for the third year in a row I nearly put it in my cart for her. It was one of those fractured and confused moments where you know on some level that this person is gone, but you want to buy them a holiday gift, regardless. You want them to know you thought… no, that you think about them. The moment passed quickly, and I didn’t put the plant in my cart. 

And yet, unlike the past two years, I’m wondering if I made the right choice. Fay had a long full life. For that, I am grateful. But I may still go back and buy that amaryllis. I’ll let it bloom in my own living room, in rememberance. 

About Rachel Lewis

I am a writer, ceramic artist, knitter, and stepmom. As a playwright, I had six short plays produced in showcases and festivals in Manhattan, Salt Lake City, and Austin. My full-length play, Locking Doors, was presented by Wordsmith Theatre Company in The New Lab Theatre (University of Utah) in 2005. I co-wrote a teleplay titled “Thank God I’m Atheist” which won the 2015 “No God But Funny” contest founded by the Center for Inquiry. My short nonfiction essay, “It’s Coming Down,” was published by the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs. My essay "The Red Rock Chronicles" was published in Contemporary West magazine. I currently work in pharmaceuticals professionally and write recreationally, but dream of making the transition to write professionally and do pharmaceuticals recreationally. I am a Utah native and live in Salt Lake City with my family and our Goldendoodle. I am working on a collection of humorous non-fiction essays and a second full-length play. Follow me at: @rachel_lewis_ut (Twitter) @rachel_lewis_ut (Instagram)

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