Thoughts on Elizabeth's birthday

When I think of Elizabeth, I think of her head on her cat's head, kissing his nose, her voice coming from the other room, laughing on the phone, her walking miles through the city, in her fringed suede boots, in her sneakers with the holes in them. 

She was raised reading Harry Potter, listening to Harry Potter on tape, going to Harry Potter movies.  She was part of the Harry Potter nation, the Harry Potter generation who are now graduating from college.  She thought of her cafeteria at school as part of Hogwarts, and it did share a certain grandeur, with its open atrium high ceilinged space, with Hogwarts.

Elizabeth wrote notes in a tiny precise hand writing.  She put her long straight hair up in a bun.

Today I went swimming in the Delaware, and did the back stroke so that I could look at the swallows darting for bugs.  I thought of her.


  1. I went walking through the city yesterday, by myself. I thought of the few times I went in with Elizabeth and how cool I thought she was. She was such a natural at being "cool". I always admired her and hated that I was from syracuse. I walked and walk and walked yesterday as if I were trying to find her or at least myself. She helped me find a lot of myself when I was younger. When I am in the city I feel her presence. I had one of her dinosaurs and it was probably the reason I didn't end up getting lost. I didn't have my beautiful, hip cousin as a tour guide, but the thought of her got me through. I love you Elizabeth, always.

    Cousin Nicholas.

  2. Thank you, Nick, for walking around thinking of Elizabeth. I hope that you didn't get too sweaty! What a scorcher. It was a melancholy day yesterday, but your comment makes me feel less alone.



  3. Oh, Patty, the birthday...
    Thinking compassionate thoughts.


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How Dina Aunty relished her memories. Mummy and Daddy were the same, talking about their yesterdays and smiling in that sad-happy way while selecting each picture, each frame from the past, examining it lovingly before it vanished again in the mist. But nobody ever forgot anything, not really, though sometimes they pretended, when it suited them. Memories were permanent. Sorrowful ones remained sad even with the passing of time, yet happy ones could never be re-created—not with the same joy. Remembering bred its own peculiar sorrow. It seemed so unfair: that time should render both sadness and happiness into a source of pain.

> From A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry