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March 8, 2009


The last time I spoke with Danni, she called me on my cell phone, from a long-distance number I didn’t recognize, and asked to speak with me, using my entire name – not Rouge Buddha of course, but the government name on my driver’s license.

She sounded oh so serious, causing me to pause, thinking…Shit! What bill collector is this and how did they get this number?

During the silence I used to decide if I was going to ask, “Who’s calling please?” or say “Sorry wrong number…” Danni laughed the old familiar laugh I had known since high school.

As I was telling her, “Girl don’t do that to me!” She was telling me, while still laughing, “Ha ha, bet you thought I was a bill collector!”

“Yes I did Miss Danni!” I answered her, laughing back, with relief.

“Nope. Just me calling to wish you a happy birthday!”

That will always be my favorite birthday phone call.

We talked for a good while that day. She told me about everything going on in her new hometown of Birmingham, where she was attending nursing school at the University of Alabama. We laughed about the possum that found a cozy home in her apartment, and the landlord who didn’t think the furry new tenant was as serious of an offense as she did.

We laughed more.
I thanked her loads for the call.
We hung up.

Some months later I had the best intentions of dropping her a card in the mail, with a little birthday cash.
I wasn’t able to. No cash. (So what else is new?)

When you are my age a birthday call means the most.
When you are Danni’s age and a university student a card with money is much more fun to get than a call. I’m no fool. Sure she would have enjoyed talking with me, just as I enjoyed talking with her, on my birthday, but I would have preferred sending money. Oh how I wish I had made that call.

A couple of months after her birthday – finally – I had enough loot to fold inside of a card to send to her. Since I was already two months late I figured one more week wouldn’t be so terrible. I would even send the card from Las Vegas where I’d be visiting and include a Vegas trinket of some kind…a key chain…a casino chip… whatever. Just a little something extra to say, you are always in my thoughts and I’m so proud of the young lady you continue to evolve into.

Las Vegas is Danni’s mom’s favorite place. It’s the grown-up’s Disneyland. She loves it. She goes there several times each year, just because she loves it.

I hate it, but I had been given an all expense paid weekend trip there so I snapped up the opportunity for desert heat in lieu of midwestern snow.

Just as I sat in the taxi, after my plane landed on March 8th last year, my cell phone rang again. I recognized the number this time. It was Danni’s mom – my favorite high school friend.

I couldn’t help but think how spooky it was to get her call the moment I landed in her favorite city.
Danni’s mom and I are the type of friends who will go for months at a time without talking. Being a grown up is busy work. You don’t always keep up with people as much as you would like, but whenever she and I would talk it was as if we had just talked the previous day. We’ve been comfortable friends like that since we were girls.

This call was different. Her voice was weak and cracked with pain.

Through tears she told me to, “Come over, right now…”

“I can’t come right now…I’m in your favorite place…I just landed in Vegas”, I told her, hoping me being in her most loved city would move the ache in her voice.

It did not.

The next words she spoke changed us both forever.

“Danni was killed in a car accident!”

‘Noooooooooooooooooooo”, was all I could say while choking on my own pain.

I must have said it in a blood-curdling shriek, because my cab driver swerved in traffic while looking at me in his rearview mirror.

I don’t know what either of us said after that. I do know we have been walking wounded since.

Still, life continues.
Hours become days.
Days become months.
And the months have brought us back to March 8th.

Danni. We miss you. Everyday.

There was a light inside of you that nothing could dim. Our world is darker without you in it.

The Buddhists believe everything boils down to cause and effect.
The Christians believe everything is the will of God and part of a great plan.
I don’t know what to believe.

I’d like to believe Danni is at peace and that the bright light in her laugh, in her smile and once in the pride in her mother’s eyes continues to shine brightly whether we see it clearly or not.

Revonda Daniela Mann
January 10, 1982 – March 8, 2008

5 Comments leave one →
  1. SEG permalink
    March 10, 2009 8:26 am

    My condolesnces on your loss. Our stories aren’t the same but they are similar. “I called the last couple of times. Why don’t they call me?” Then you get the email or the call and that little voice inside really already knows but there’s that little bit of denail hanging in there that gets shattered.

    The older I’ve got (seasoned sounds better)it seems the less I see folks. I’ve had to address whether or not I’m isolating. Sometims yes.

    This is the second time in life I’ve answered or replied to a blog.

    Loss is something that takes years to fade but the echo and feelings when you think back can make it as if it were just yesterday.

  2. RPS permalink
    March 20, 2009 9:34 am

    I knew you would get the image up.
    It’s a nice tribute.

    Smiling with you,

  3. Roz permalink
    October 27, 2009 1:27 pm

    I went to elementary school with Danni. The other day while listening to my MP3 player Erykah Badu’s “Kiss me on my neck” came on and I’ve been thinking of her every since. It was a blurb that she had on her myspace page. I just google her to remind myself her date of death and ran across your blog. She was a beautiful person. She and I were not as close as we we thought we would be after elementary years, but we had just reconnected with each other about 6 months before her accident. She was a true sweetheart and I know she is now an angel.

    • rougebuddha permalink
      October 27, 2009 9:28 pm

      Thank you for your comment Roz.
      I will pass it on to Danni’s Mom.
      I know it will make her smile.


  4. rougebuddha permalink
    March 8, 2012 7:09 am

    Reblogged this on Rougebuddha’s Blog and commented:

    This is re-bloged from march 8, 2009

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