"He walked down Piccadilly and turned into Fortnum & Mason, which was always in a state of pleasurable havoc. Everyone (and when wasn't everyone in Fortnum's?) seemed to be staggering under the canopy over the display of foie gras and cheese and prosciutto sliced so thin you could see through it. The wonderful black-coated staff, the bright fruit, the collective swimming smells of tea and citrus and money."
Oh, Laurie, I haven't thought of you in years.
Your sleek black hair, your voluptuous body
- and mind. Your laughter and the hedonistic
way you gobbled life. How you tried to
seduce me into being less cautious, more
adventuresome, beginning with prosciutto.
You wanted to go to Babe's for lunch - a place
I only knew by reputation and hadn't the nerve
to enter (although it would later be a cherished
haunt with Rocky). An antipasto appetizer was
what you wanted to order to share, telling me
how much you loved it. I had to ask, "What is
prosciutto?" and listen to your tinkling laughter.
You were happy to introduce me to
new foods. But it was your talk about two
women authors you knew - a couple long
before Iowa was one of the first states to
legalize same-sex marriages - which gave me
pause. Then I invited you to my home for
New Year's Eve. We drank wine and noshed
in front of the fireplace. I loved our far-ranging
conversations. I admired your bold grasp on life.
But I was afraid to go down that road you
wanted me to take. It would be years, until,
in a small town honky-tonk bar, drunk and
dancing with another woman, I felt the feelings
you had hoped to arouse. Forty-some years
later and that one word, prosciutto, hastens back
memories of you. If I could remember your full
name, I would be Googling you; looking on
Facebook for you - just to know what happened
Dark-haired, laughing-at-the world,
enjoying life in all its glory - Laurie.