I met her when I was dating my (now) husband. Back then she was maybe twelve. Powder white skin and long ebony tresses. Not a care in the world. I noticed she liked to care for the little ones at Sunday School, like a Shepherd gathers his little lambs. We got to know her Mom and Dad a little, but when we returned home from our honeymoon, there had been an ugly split in the tiny church plant we’d been attending, and they were no longer around.
Years later I saw her downtown, and she had grown into a lovely young woman in her twenties. She was dating a young man with a high profile career, and excited about life. No sooner had I imagined a lovely wedding and dreamy future for this beautiful spirit, I heard about the break-up. I didn’t know how to get a hold of her to see if I could take her out for coffee and chat.
One day out of the blue I get a phone call. Did I remember who she was? Absolutely. She needed to meet me.
I’ll never forget how I felt holding her hand across the table and watching her tremble. She was addicted to prescription drugs. Her Mother and Father had split. She had a child from a lover, but her child had been taken away. No one really knows how to determine which hearts break and recover, and which hearts crumble and lay down and die. Why had my little Snow White not found her Prince Charming? Why had there not been anyone to protect her from the wolves?
I went home that day and wrote this song. It has never been recorded, but remains to be a favourite of mine. Not that it is pleasant to remember the demise of a dear friend, but it is important to remember there is only a window of time for us to cherish and nurture each unique life.
I wait for her and know our meeting won’t be pretty
She’s cut her hair and tells me she is far too heavy
But I see the twelve year old I knew when I was twenty
Who used her up and left her second hand?
How my soul aches to see her shake drinkin’ her coffee
All she needs, all she needs is to be loved!
It’s not the first time I’ve heard it
It’s not the last time I’ll see
It’s the all too familiar calamity
All we need, all we need, all we need is to be loved…..©Cindy Palin, Nov. 2005
That same day, I went to check on another friend I had met on a Saturday morning, out shopping. I will share the second half of the song, which is her story – tomorrow.