Each year in South Africa, thousands of people are killed in car accidents.
Today one of those people was twenty-four year old Jessica Moll, daughter of my cousin Beverley and husband Mike, grand daughter of my Aunt Yvonne and Uncle Reg, who live a few houses down from their family, in the hot, pretty town of Paarl.
They don't know yet what happened, or how. And just like that she is gone.
What an awful way to start this year.
Vince and I had a quiet evening at home last night, a good dinner, for which we dressed up, and a long walk in the falling snow, through Brooklyn Heights, before midnight. Somewhere, Jessica was probably asleep, seven hours head of us.
We stood on the promenade and watched a party in a brownstone, with double bass, a saxophone, a singer, and couples dancing in the warm light. Behind us people gathered in coats and under umbrellas, looking at the lit monoliths of downtown Manhattan across the East River. From the south end of the Promenade uncannily movie-like 20's dance music came drifting, and I thought someone must have set up an old-fashioned gramophone.
We watched far-off fireworks, and turned home, walking past pairs of cops, out in force, obligingly taking pictures of tourists and turning a blind eye to celebratory champagne corks popping.
The 20's dance music was coming out of a cop car parked at the end of the Promenade, lights blazing, music streaming to us from his powerful roof-mounted loudhailer. We smiled. Happy New Year, he said to us through his open window, from his seat inside.
...Happy New Year
A tall order at the best of times.
To my cousins, and aunt and uncle, I am so terribly, terribly sorry. You have been constantly in our thoughts.
01/04/10 - From Jessica's Facebook page, from her friend Dora, who was in the car with her. Jessica died on the scene:
My best friend, I have survived our ordeal, but you have departed in quite an untimely manner, if you don't mind me saying so. Nothing will ever be the same. I love you and you will be with me always. I promise to take care of Appel, as he did of me. I hope that lovely Bach we were listening to filled your ears and heart to the last, as you will mine.