I pour a bag of Trader Joe’s salad into a too small metal bowl, then struggle not to make a mess.
“Dang it, I need a better salad bowl. Maybe Etsy— Lisa had a great salad bowl. I wonder what happened to it—.”
It was the perfect sand bowl, very high sides, very deep. One flip of the tongs would coat everything with just enough salad dressing.
Lisa’s been gone now for about a decade. The perfect salad bowl belongs to someone else now. Maybe her widower kept it, although I can’t really picture him making salads. Maybe her partner in the Metal Arts business. Maybe— a garage sale. I don’t know. But that salad bowl reminds me of wonderful conversations in her little Long Beach house, movie nights, crafting things. I’m a terrible crafter, but Lisa was always patient with me. She made huge iron things, furniture, bicycle racks a pair of beautiful Iron Gates that are at an art part a block from my current apartment.
Lisa died of breast cancer. They thought they had got it, missed one recalcitrant lymph node, and the neoplasms ravaged her.
One time, before she got ill, I was at her house at a crafting group. And we were having a conversation about what happens to us after death. Lisa said she thought the soul was like drops of water, that when we died we all went back to the pond for another go round. I protested, hating the thought of losing my individualness. (I was a punk. What did I know?) I wonder if she already knew about the cancer. I wonder if it comforted her to be a drop of water. I wonder about her powerful essence.
The lymph node got missed because Lisa had been such an empath, that she was comforting the oncologist, who’s mother had just died and something was missed in the tests.
Oh Lisa. There’s no mixing your soul. You’re there in the gate, in the beautiful chair that’s in Lionel’s room. In that damn salad bowl. I hope whoever has it enjoys it’s easy perfection. The easy perfection you always gave to your art.