Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Karin's birthday

I always try to not remember rather than forget. - from "Not going anywhere", a song by Keren Ann (thanks, Dan!)

Today is the birthday of Karin N., my ex-girlfriend. I don't talk about Karin much anymore, but hardly a day goes by that I don't think of her. This is largely because when she left Miami about a year ago, she left behind many of her cd's and kitchen supplies, which I continue to use to this day. I have a lot to be grateful to Karin for, and not just when I listen to her Ravel cd or sprinkle her curry powder over my couscous.

When a relationship ends unhappily, though, it's hard not to think back with some bitterness. So I thought that to celebrate her birthday, rather than writing something new I would share something I wrote about her in September 2003. At the time we had been living together for just a few weeks and were very optimistic about our future. This letter was written to my Grandma, who passed away last fall; many of the letters I had sent to my Grandma were returned to me a couple weeks ago. Reading over this one brought back a lot of nice memories:

....We're now visiting Karin's parents in Rochester, NY, which is not where I was when I began this letter. We flew up here on Friday of Labor Day weekend, planning to spend a few days in Rochester and at her parents' cottage on the Finger Lakes, which is a beautiful area of rolling hills, farms and wineries and skinny, calm lakes in upstate New York, where people go fishing and waterskiing in the summer.

We drove out to their cottage yesterday, and met some more family and friends of theirs, including a baby cousin of Karin's named Emma, just over a year old and walking around and saying a few words. The baby was the center of attention all day yesterday, since the weather was cloudy and a bit cold for waterskiing. We went out for a long walk with Emma and her mother Jackie (with a stroller) and when we got back Jackie told everyone she was pregnant with a second baby, who would be due next spring. Emma is adorable, with blond curls and a very friendly, open nature, and hopefully their next baby will be just as wonderful.

Jackie and John recently got a minivan, and gave up their two-door car to Karin. It is ten years old but in great shape since John (father of Emma) took such excellent care of it. We had planned to drive the car back to Charleston after Labor Day, but Karin woke up with an eye infection this morning (Sunday). It is a recurring condition and she'll have to stay here long enough to get treated and possibly even have an operation on it, as she did a couple years ago.

I feel sorry for her, especially as she tends to be very pessimistic - this morning when she woke up, she told me her eye would have to be removed if it didn't get better! She is just impatient and can't stand being bothered by things outside of her control, but she calms down eventually and is incredibly sweet in general. I'm not sure why I'm trying to describe her whole character to you, as you're sure to meet her soon enough and would probably rather form your own opinion. It's just been a revelation to me to learn so much about a person, and see her bad moods and good ones, and take a broad perspective on the whole person, not just the latest passing emotion....

Happy birthday, Karin, and best wishes!

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