I remembered the first day Candice walked into my class.
Regal posture, long black hair, intense Cherokee eyes.
To top this off, she was wearing a red shirt which only exaggerated the power of her wisdom, courage and -- who am I kidding here? --- womanly curves.
Throughout the semester, she made nothing but A's. High A's at that.
Still -- Candice felt the anxiety so many thirty-something-mother-students are gripped with, and visited me often in my office to get clarifications on notes and readings.
That's where we laughed. Hard.
We're from different worlds -- I'm Cuban, from big cities; she's Cherokee and German, from Lakeland, Georgia, a smalltown outside the small city of Valdosta -- but we have the same laugh, the same curiosity, the same loyal devotion to just a few things.
Our talks turned more serious this past October when we both were tortured with mammogram craziness at the same time. We cried, hugged, giggled and encouraged each other. Just as it should be, right?
Then today, Candice showed up at my door before an exam, no makeup on, teary-eyed. Her grandmother had passed on, too. The same week as mine. We shook our heads in amazement.It's like the universe is serving us challenges from the same script.
But then Candice threw a curveball. She just found outher sister died, the one her father had before he met her mom.
Tears of rage, sadness and exhaustion streamed down her face as she opened her arms, "She's gone. Just gone... and I didn't know her...."
I looked at the clock over her shoulder. Three minutes until I had to give a final. No time for resolution, no time for deep questions. I hand her a tiny but wise and mind-opening book, and tell her I'll see her soon.
Because I will.
I know I will, Candice, because - in case you haven't noticed - I'm your sister, too.
And I'm right here, now, laughing and crying with you.