Thursday, July 28, 2011

A short while ago I was walking home from work, when I saw someone I thought I recognized, but because I wasn't 100% sure, I made it a point to keep walking. Then I saw this person trying to get my attention, and she started to walk towards me, and I still did not know who the hell she was. Then she insulted me by asking me if my name was Jamal, and I said no, that's my brother, and finally she pointed at me, and said "Rashad right?", and I said "Bingo!".

Her name was Charisse and my mother was one of her professors at George Mason University about 10 years ago. She remembered me from my mother's going-away-ceremony at George Mason 4 years ago, and she told me that my mother would talk about me and my brother non-stop. On top of that, Charisse had developed an outside friendship with my mother, so she was keenly aware of who I was, what was going on with me, etc (she didn't know my name though, but I let that slide)

Charisse was walking towards the metro, and I was walking towards my house, so we did not talk for too long, but she did give me her card, and she told me to tell my mother I said hello, and I said I would. The last thing she said was congrats on the wedding, and I thanked her, and then she said that she remembered my wife from the George Mason event, and I told her that was not my wife, just a friend of mine who wanted to meet my mother. She was a bit embarassed, but we shared a laugh, we said our goodbyes, I flicked her business card and said "oh yeah! (an inside New Jack City joke), and I went on my merry way.

I passed along the message to my mother, who said she would reach out to Charisse, and then I emailed my friend Michelle (the woman who Charisse thought was my wife), and told her the funny story, and then I got lost in my own life, and forgot about the encounter.

Yesterday, about five minutes after I ate dinner, my mother sent me an email and said that Charisse had died of a heart attack after a bout with walking pneumonia--and she was only 32 years old. I immediately called my mother to make sure she was fine, and she was understandably shaken, but she held it together. I was a little freaked out that someone I had just sent and interacted with, was now dead and gone. On top of that I found it weird that my friend Michelle (the one Charisse thought was my wife), who I had reached out to after seeing Charisse, had a heart attack of her own at age 33 back in 2008 (she survived). I'm really not intelligent enough to decipher the symmetry in all of this, I just know that her untimely death is a bit sad. At least we left off on a high note by laughing...

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