Those of you who knew Niqué in person know that she was born a redhead, and had copious amounts of freckles. She lamented that fact to me one summer when we went to Six Flags together with her oldest daughter. She said "How come you're just all peaches and cream and I look like I've been speckled with paint?" I said "Because you used up all the freckles so there weren't any left when I came around!"
Now, I'm not actually all peaches and cream. I, too, am befreckled, but it's not as noticeable, unless you put me in direct sunlight for longer than 10 minutes. Then the little brown beasties come out and say "LOOK AT US! WE'RE FRECKLES!!!"
Today, I had the misfortune of getting caught in direct sunlight when I had been promised some cloud cover at my son's soccer game. (I also thought he was going to be too sick to play in it at all, so the whole day just caught me off guard from the beginning. C'est la vie.) My daughter came and sat in my lap, and as I placed my hand on her back, I saw them. I tried to take a photo, but it just wouldn't convey the image before me. My sister and I had differently shaped hands. She had my mother's hands with long, slender fingers. I, on the other hand, have the same hands as my late Grandmother, Gilmer Chatham, which are also shared by my Aunt Georganne: very short fingers and tiny hands. As I looked down at my hands this afternoon, I saw my sister's hands. My nails were not as manicured as hers would have been, and my fingers not as slender, but there they were. Freckled in almost an identical manner. That was one of those unexpected waves of pain. There are the ones you see coming, and the ones that blindside and nearly capsize you. Thankfully my little girl was there to remind me to find my anchor quickly, and file it under "thoughts to revisit later." Thus, this post.
I was also reminded of a few other pleasant memories. I spoke with one of Niqué's former employers very shortly after her body was found. He, of course, professed to me his immediate belief that it was obvious to him who had killed her, and shared with me some stories about her time working for him. Suddenly, for no reason at all, he began to reminisce about the way she would hold her coffee mug with both hands every day. He said "I can see her now, standing there laughing and clutching that cup with both hands." I cried and told him "I do that same thing." I hadn't even realized it when she was alive. Maybe I picked it up from her, or maybe it was just one of those weird sister things, but I always hold my coffee with both hands.
Niqué took her coffee with cream and sugar. Enough cream, I should clarify, that she dubbed the camel shade that her coffee took on as "Blonde". Nana, my "bonus mom" (for those not in the know on that, it means she's my dad's wife, but "Stepmom" doesn't cut it ) always got such a kick out of Niqué taking her coffee "Blonde."
I also like cream and sugar in my coffee, and I don't like quite as much cream as she did, but it's close enough. One day, I was making myself a cup and noticed some Old Fashioned Drinking Chocolate in the cupboard, so I took a spoonful of it and stirred it in.
I call it "Blonde With Freckles" and of course I hold it with both hands.