I met Annette my first week at American University. She was a girl from the town of Alamosa, CO who had lived all around the world. Her worldliness attracted me, but her sense of humor and willingness to do good made me want to be friend. We were roommates sophomore year, living on an all-girls floor in one of the residence halls that was populated mostly by the women's rugby team. But she went abroad junior year, and moved off campus when she returned. Matt and I went to a party at the house once, and there were so many people there, and they were charging an entrance fee for beer, which I didn't want to pay because I didn't drink, and Annette really didn't drink either. We kind of drifted apart, and now I'm not even sure if I saw her at our graduation. I moved back to Texas for a year, and then on to California. I don't think we really even emailed during that time, but there were a lot of people that I didn't really keep in contact with.
Despite not really keeping in touch after college, Matt and I were eager to reconnect with Annette and her husband Figaro when we moved back to Washington. We had only met him a few times before, and he seemed like a nice enough guy. We spent Thanksgiving with them at their teeny tiny little apartment, and two Easters together. I remember laughing at her mashed potatoes because there was so much butter in them that they slid right out of the bowl without leaving any bits behind.
We were sad when they moved to Denver to pursue their studies in 2005. But whatever, Denver is a cool place, and we'll make an effort to go visit, right? They visited DC at least twice a year to see family and friends, and we were lucky enough to see them on most of those visits.
Three weeks ago, they stopped by DC and we had dinner with them at one of our neighborhood restaurants. We talked about the normal things that friends do...work, family, general gossip. We hugged them goodbye and said we'd probably see them this summer.
Last week, I found out that Annette had a brain aneurysm, and later died. Her family and friends were in shock. I felt like my heart was breaking. We flew out to Denver just to be together with them. When we came back last night, I looked through my photo albums, trying to find pictures of her. Shockingly, despite knowing Annette for 12 years, I don't have that many. I guess you always regret the pictures that you don't take, but you can at least cherish the ones that you have.