We met at a party. It was my party .. well, one I was co-hosting with my friend CJ at his beautiful, waterfront property in Annapolis. It was an odd-interesting-weird party in that about half the attendees were burners and people comfortably attired in skintight, purple lamé pants, or a furry vest, or some wild hat in which they looked completely at ease and stylish–or maybe, for some, all three items together; while the other half or so of the attendees were “The Annapolis Crowd” — mostly white, mostly not into purple lamé pants, and mostly walking around with a “who are you? and why are you in Annapolis?” attitude toward the burners and Burning Man-leaning people.
There wasn’t a lot of melding of the two groups at this early and initial party CJ and I co-hosted. That would change over time as The Annapolis Crowd came to practically outdo the burners with their own wonderful and wild outfits, but I’m not talking about down the road; I’m talking about back then … the day I met Amber.
Back then and that night there was almost a West Side Story, Them-vs-Us vibe; there was some obvious awkwardness and discomfort between the two communities. But not with Amber.
Amber and I found ourselves around the large fire pit, late that night. She looked at me with her deep beautiful eyes set on her angelic, model-worthy face and asked me questions. She wanted to know: Who were we? Why did we dress this way? How did we all know each other?
But the questions didn’t come from an Us-Them attitude; they came from curiosity, from genuine interest and a place of warmth. I could feel it. I distinctly remember her as being the one person from The Annapolis Crowd that wasn’t on this side or that side, but just was. Not that I spoke with each person at the party that night, and I have since become friends and acquaintances with some of The Annapolis Crowd, and they’re quite lovely, indeed. But that night with the Us-Them vibe pulsing strong, Amber’s genuine interest and desire to connect stood out to me.
That was years ago — 2015, I believe. I still remember it. I still remember her, then.
Our paths crossed again … at more parties and events. In short order she crossed over from being CJ’s friend whom he invited to parties to becoming my friend whom I invited to parties–those I cohosted with CJ and those I hosted myself. Amber and I met for tea in Annapolis. And dinner once. We chatted on Facebook. And every time — every time we spoke and engaged — I was always so taken by the genuineness of her curiosity and interest in others.
In the course of life, we can meet many people–each and every one unique. But for as 100 percent unique as we each and all are, not everyone stands out. Not everyone is likely to pique your curiosity. To me, Amber stood out. To me, Amber was someone I wanted as a friend.
We didn’t become besties. There are only so many slots in Life for such roles, but she was someone I liked and cared about.
She died the other day. An infection. Sepsis. Organ failure.
She was young. She was beautiful. She was warm-hearted. She was kind.
If you knew her, you know that. If you didn’t know her, I would like for you to know that now.
Rest in peace, Amber … or fly wildly through the heavens. Whatever your next step, may it be filled with blessings and the kind heart you shared so easily with others.