This week I learned an old friend from pastry school passed away unexpectedly. She was 37, and we'd had a crazy roller-coaster-ride friendship that year in school and in the following year afterward. We had gone our separate ways eventually, realizing perhaps that had we met at another time, when we weren't so "already adult," we might have tolerated the high-school drama that seemed to plague our friendship. It was odd to me that two people in their mid-30s could still create juvenile-level drama in a friendship, but in the end, it was probably better for both of us that we called it a day and moved on.
That was two years ago. Today, at the wake, I learned that she had taken her own life. When I knew her, I had no idea she was struggling with any of the aspects of life her eulogists told us about tonight. She was not a happy person, and they readily told us about it tonight. I am undoubtedly shocked by the realization that the woman I knew then, who went on field trips to bakeries around town with me, who laughed with me about our fallen souffles and unset creme brulees, who helped me decorate my new condo, and who fretted with me about whether croissants or puff pastry would be on the final exam in pastry school, had spiraled into the immense sadness she came to be mired in at her death. She seemed so carefree, in-the-moment, and recklessly fun back then.
I don't mean to be so morose on a blog that so happily discusses food and the enjoyment of it, but I just wanted to encourage folks to try and always be attune to those around you and what makes them tick. A time bomb may be about to go off in them, and what they show you on the outside may not be what's going on inside. I wish I'd had seen the drama in our friendship for what it could have meant (a conflicted person) instead of what I thought it did (a drama queen). I miss her and had come to missing her a lot lately, as my pastry business took off over the past year and I wanted someone to share in all the amazing things that were happening. But I am doing too little too late, even in writing this post as a means of paying respect to her.
Sara, you will be missed, my fellow pastry chef. I hope you find peace where you are now, and may there be lots of cakes for you to decorate in heaven.