This morning, on our walk to Laguna Apoyo to the sunshine and cervezas and sparkling water, to the heart-beating world, on this morning, he told me that Chelsea died. As we stopped at the street corner, I could feel chills running up and down my body despite the hot dry Granada air. Chelsea was 24 years old, only a year or two younger than us. A few months ago, she had finished her nursing program and had found a job in a hospital. Her warmth and humor were as contagious as the diseases in those hospital beds. She was a good friend to us both, and now a motorcycle crash had stolen her life away.
As we crossed the street filled with semi-trucks and horse carts and taxis and bicycles, all of which refuse to acknowledge stop signs, I thought of how easily it could have been me or you. A more silver-lined person might have said thank you Universe for forcing us to slow down and look around at our luck. For now, I forced the tears to stop at the corners of my eyes.
At one point, Ian said, “I feel like we are hearing more of these stories nowadays.” He means more and more stories of friends with lives too short and bittersweet. This feeling is new to us who have lived quarter century lives and can look forward to so much more. As we grow older, I know there will be more stories too short to want to repeat. Today, I will remember the good ones as we sit at this lake in Nicaragua, a lake so similar to Cayuga Lake, where Chelsea was once and forever our friend.