I felt a nudge from behind while in line to place my usual Friday lunch order at Erik’s Deli and Cafe.
Radio station KOME was playing cuts from The Cult’s debut album, Dreamtime, as I fished for cash at the bottom of my purse when there was another soft bump from the person behind me.
I thought I’d said, “Excuse me,” in a whisper that was only audible to me and the cute hippie chick waiting for me to pay for my turkey-ham-Swiss sandwich on rye with extra sprouts and pickles and no mayo. But the woman from behind heard me, leaned down into my left ear, took a nibble from my ear lobe, and said, “Sweetie, lunch is on me today.”
That’s when and how I met Judith, a full-time faerie princess and full-time woman of my desires with long, curly red hair, deep purple lipstick, and flaming red nails that were like splayed out talons of a bird of prey. I instantly wanted to be her kept woman, and for five precious years, I was her’s. We didn’t break up after that; instead, I found her lying in our bed; her voluptuous body was cold to the touch. While I worked the Friday night shift, she had passed onward to the other side.
The sisterhood of woodland faeries flew her remains into the clouds, seeding them with Judith’s faerie dust, and, for thirteen days, we flew in formation above the Santa Cruz mountains spreading her dust in remembrance of who and what she was.
I conjured up all the emotional strength I could to retrieve the envelope she had left in the bottom drawer of her armoire, which she addressed in Claret ink, “Kendra, my love. Open after I’m gone. Love, Judith.”
On the floor, curled in the fetal position, tasting the salt in my tears, I steeled myself to slice open the envelope with my right index nail to digest her parting words to me.