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Saturday, January 26, 2013

When the Universe Whispers

This is going to be a strange and disjointed post.  I have things to say but haven't yet figured out how I want to do this.

At the end of my ITP (Interpreter Training Program), I had to do a practicum that included a bunch of different settings.  I interpreted in church (that was interesting), psych (horrible) and school (weird).  I wasn't much older than a lot of the students so I would get checked for ID by teachers.  I hated (and still do) being in the educational setting but an interpreter has to do what an interpreter has to do.  One of my mentors, N, remained a friend for many years.  Hanging out with her and her husband was fun.  They were hunters, republicans and as conservative as I was liberal.  But we liked each other.

After I moved to MD, we stayed in touch occasionally.  Nothing regular but Christmas cards and the occasional letter kept us in each others' lives.  But after my dozen moves in as many years, we fell out of touch.  I'd hear about her from mutual friends once in a while.  I knew she retired.  I knew this and that but no specifics.

I had one of my worst interpreting experiences with her.  I was still a new interpreter, uncomfortable with my limitations of language and knowledge yet eager to learn.  She was asked to interpret a college class and asked me to work with her.  The client was tough - or that was my impression at the time.  Looking back, that client wasn't tough at all.  She was advocating for her rights.  One of those rights was to have qualified interpreters.  I wasn't one of them and she knew it.  But N fought for me.  I felt terrible because I knew the client was right.  Yet N coached me through it.  I was so relieved when that class was done.  I'm pretty sure I will remain on the client's shit list for life.  I deserved to be there.

When I would visit N's house, I always steered clear of what I called "The Room of Death".  That was room that held the heads of the poor things her husband killed.  I learned a lot about hunting from them.  What I remember is hunters pee in bottles while sitting in trees.  Her husband is a very manly man (from my memory).  The thought of him sitting in a tree peeing in a bottle always makes me laugh.

So here's when the Universe whispered to me.

A few years ago I tried to find her.  I didn't bust my ass doing so but I did a few online checks to see if she was on facebook or linkedin or somewhere where I could send her a message.  I didn't find her and I let it go.

LAST WEEK the urge to find her hit again.  I googled her.  I did several searches for her.  I came up with a few things but nothing that gave me her address or an email. THIS WAS LAST WEEK.  And I spent maybe an hour or so searching to see what I could find.  It seemed important.  And then, as is usually the case in my life, I became distracted and didn't finish finding her.

LAST NIGHT I was playing Words with Friends with another interpreter from home.  She told me N had died a few days ago.  Sometime between my need to find her and that game, N had died.  She died without knowing that I thought of her regularly.  She died without me telling her I remembered all those days we spent interpreting for crazy high school students.

Is it a coincidence that I looked for her just as she was about to leave this world?  My boyfriend would say yes, that's exactly what it is.  I'm not so sure.  I think next time I should listen a little more closely when the Universe whispers something to me.  I wish I had this time.

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