Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rey Center Residency Day 10 - Disappointment, Followed by Heartbreak, Followed by A Very Tasty Dinner

Day 10 of my Residency at The Rey Center in Waterville Valley was marked with disappointment, tragedy, and a really delicious dinner.

This will be a short blog entry, as I try to process the terrible loss I suffered yesterday.

A few days ago, I posted a blog entry about finding Barbie sprawled out across some chairs on the Town Common in Waterville Valley, obviously feeling the effects of a very wild night. I also mentioned that a few hours later, I sighted her seated upright in a chair, obviously trying to take control of her life by starting the valley's first 12-step program for tiny, plastic action figures.

She sat alone at her meeting, stoic and silent.

Today I went down to the Town Square to find a nice spot in the sun and draw. I settled at a small table on the dock, overlooking the beautiful pond.

I was a bit disappointed to see that the mysterious message in the bottle that has been floating on the raft in the center of the pond was gone. I have lost my chance to ever witness its secrets.

Little did I know that this minor disappointment was merely a prelude to the profound tragedy that awaited.

The sun shimmered off the water as muffled lapping sounds soothed away any cares I may have had.
I started to draw and was soon consumed in my work, lulled into a meditative, blissful state by the serenity of my surroundings.

Lovely, yes?
I hadn't been paying much attention to the two men leaning over the edge of the bridge, peering into the water. Small snippets of their conversation skipped over the water and bounced around me, unheeded and unregistered by my mind.

Blah, blah, blah. Whatever. I'm working here.
Until one small phrase, perhaps let into my consciousness by a slight shift in the speaker's tone, penetrated my euphoria.

"Uh, oh. Looks like we've got a floater."

My heart sank as I looked up to see the two men, whom I now realized were Waterville Valley police officers, climbing down the short embankment toward the water.

My natural curiosity, tempered by dread, compelled me to see what was happening.

Things got serious very quickly.
I should warn delicate readers that the next two pictures are extremely graphic and disturbing. I include them only because I feel that I should honestly chronicle my entire stay in Waterville Valley. I feel obligated to include not only the wonderful time, but the awful, as well.

Oh, Barbie.

Taken away from us too soon.

 It seems that, despite her best efforts to clean herself up and live a sober life, Barbie was out partying again last night. This time, she paid a price much higher than a hangover.

The police, Chief Noyes and Director Hodges, tried valiantly to resuscitate her, but it was too late.

Barbie was gone.

I'd like for all of us to remember the good times she brought to Waterville Valley.
Her effusive laughter.
Her sparkling wit.
Her perky little nose and fabulous, silky hair.

As I quietly watched the officers take her away, I decided that a tribute of some sort was in order.

Something tasteful.

I created this small memorial to mark the spot where she was found.

I placed it at the base of the bridge in the hopes that others, seeing it, will pause for just a moment to reflect on the fragility of life.

I spent the rest of the day in a gloomy haze, consumed by dark thoughts about the unfairness of life. I brooded deeply until at 6:00, my charming host, Chris arrived to whisk me off to a dinner party at Birdie and David's house.

The day's tragedy was briefly sublimated by a cheery tide of bright conversation, wonderful food, and the ubiquitous red wine which seems to follow me like some excited puppy on my travels through the valley.

Birdie showed me her amazing art studio and the conversation spiraled from literature to politics to food, to the best way to exercise your lips and what might happen if you exercise them too much.

As we sat by the fire and talked, I silently raised my glass to Barbie and sipped the wine.

She would have wanted it that way.

1 comment:

Deborah Katsirebas said...

Funny!!!! I saw the official police photos of this tragedy. I did not realize that you were there to witness such horror.