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From: Tom ZeCat (
Subject: RIP Ingrid
Date: February 22, 2009 at 5:53 pm PST

Ever notice how you get passionate and hopeful for something to happen, but what actually does happen is light years from what you wanted? The summer of í97 was a magical time for me. I had worked for years honing the craft of playwriting and had finally won a playwriting contest. I had gotten up at 5:30 every morning and had written in my play till 7:30 when I had to start getting ready for work at a job I loathed, a job that made me ill just by thinking of going to it. The playwriting was my way of rising above all that crap.

And there I was in the Summer of í97 knowing my play would be performed, nervous about whether it would be accepted by the public, nervous about whether the actors would do a good job. They ended up coming through for me, and we got a really good review in a local weekly periodical. It seemed the highlight of my summer would be the performance of my play. That was an awesome experience. However, the highlight of my summer was the time I spent with Ingrid.

Ingrid was the actress who played the lead role in my play. One night after the show, things really clicked between us and I kissed her. We dated after that. I always felt comfortable with her like I was with someone I could trust. We took a road trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. We razzed each other and acted goofy and had fun the whole way. At one point I told her I had to go really bad and couldnít wait till we got to a gas station. I lied. That was an excuse to stop on the shoulder and to pick a big, beautiful sunflower for her. When I got back in the car and gave it to her, this enchanted and beautiful smile came over her face. At that moment I was a goner. I was in love with Ingrid.

We continued seeing each other for a while after that. It seemed perfect. It was romantic, the playwright and the lead actress getting together. However, often what seems to be happening Ė or what you hope for Ė ends up not being reality. For about a week, she avoided me, not returning my calls. When I finally got in touch with her, I found out she had been afraid to face me. She had decided to move back to California and didnít know how to tell me because she knew it would hurt me so much. That was true. It certainly did hurt.

She wanted to go back so that she could be near her family. I never begrudged her that, but it still hurt. That was a tough one to accept.

So fast forward to a week ago. I decided it would be great to use the Internet to re-establish contact with Ingrid. I did a search to try to find an e-mail address or Myspace page for her. I wanted to tell her of new plays I had written and to find out how she was doing. Instead, I found her obituary. She had died of leukemia last March. She was only 39. For the past week, Iíve been a mess. It seems so absurd and so rotten for this to happen. Somehow I had made peace with the fact that Ingrid and I would not be together. I had made peace with the fact that she married another man and had a son by him. But how do I make peace with this? It would be hard to think of anything more contrary to my hopes than having her die of such an awful disease. Iíll never get to share any more of my plays with her. The highlight of the Summer of í97 will remain only in my memories. She left a husband and an 8-year old son behind. I feel for them. Life can be absolutely cruel sometimes. It makes no sense whatsoever, and I donít know what Iím going to do.

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