I could feel you in the room, little Buddah - talking to yourself and your tiles. I should have realized when you stopped commenting on my posts, but too busy with my own stuff I failed to notice. So I got a shock when I heard of your sudden death and had to adjust to the knowledge that you would not be here when I arrived. No more lunches, no more games.
Remember when I flew in for the tournament and my flight was late and I raced from the airport to pick you up and then drove on I95 like a maniac and we made it just in time? Or the time you showed me the baby owls' nest when we were the last ones out of the clubhouse? I still have the insulated mahjongg lunch bag that I swapped with you for the beach tote. Thank you so much for bringing me into your game when I didn't know anybody. And for your steadfast support for my cockamamie writing projects, the ill-advised mahjongg murders.
When I went to bet on Monday, I saw little numbers with circles next to the names on the pad. What's that for? I asked the girls. "It's something Lorraine liked to do," Madeline said. "She liked to see how many games we played." She misted up, and so did I. But it sounded like something you would do. Why would you need to know how many games you played? No reason, just curious. So now I am going to do it too. I'm going to start a tradition of putting the number of the game in a circle next to the person bet on. I don't care if no one else wants to do it - I will do it and this way I can bring you into my game like you brought me into yours.
So bye, my first Florida friend.
Rest in peace.