Last night one of my more erudite Facebook friends posted about the death of British actor Geoffrey Hughes. She mentioned that while he was best known for his role on Coronation Street, to her he was Onslow on Keeping Up Appearances.
Why did the latter show sound so familiar to me? I wondered, as I typed the name into the Google search field.
When I reached its Wikipedia page, I remembered. I smiled.
On the sole trip J and I made together to Colorado Springs to see my grandparents, my Far-Mor had been giddy with delight over this show. She insisted we would love it; and so we settled down one night on the family room couches to watch. J and I were not exactly enamored with this brand of British humor, but we chuckled gamely with my grandparents. The main character, Hyacinth Bucket, insisted her last name was pronounced "Bouquet" and always answered the telephone grandly in a sing-song voice: "Bouquet residence! The lady of the house speaking!"
For months after our trip, I would answer the phone like this when my grandmother called, and we would giggle together. At some point, however, I had forgotten our inside joke.
Last night, as I brushed my teeth, I laughed. I wondered if it wasn't my grandmother reminding me of all the fun we'd had. And then I felt a crushing sadness, and I was sobbing, unable to catch my breath. When I finished brushing, I climbed into bed with J, unable to tell him what was wrong initially.
"That show," I gasped. And when I finally got the words out, I laughed again through my tears.
"It's easy to forget she's gone," I tell him. We didn't speak every day. She lived 2000 miles from me for most of the last 22 years. "But then, when it hits me..." I begin, a fresh wave of weeping consuming me as J holds me.
I think: I miss my friend.