Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dorothy is free

Sometimes the universe keeps you awake for a reason. At 1:07 this morning I was on the computer, piddling around with a couple of projects, when this message arrived on Twitter:


It turned out to be true, and joyous.

Dorothy is my friend Dorothy Parvaz, who had been detained in Syria, then deported to Iran, and was held for 18 days. I wrote about her when it first happened -- how brave and tough she is, how strong I knew she'd be. But when you don't hear anything, you start to think the worst. A bunch of us who knew Dorothy happened to be gathering last weekend, and though we were there to reunite and celebrate, her absence left a hole we couldn't quite fill.

This is the first time someone I know has gone missing. I can't imagine what it's like for a parent whose child has disappeared, or a military spouse whose other half vanishes halfway across the world.

Dorothy was lucky. She had lots of friends -- journalists with connections, people with social media skills, colleagues all around the world. I don't know if any of that made a difference. But it felt good to try.

There's a lot of catching up to be done. Her fiance comes first, and then the rest of her family, and somewhere along the line those of us who count Dorothy as a friend will get to hug her neck. There's also some explaining to do. Dorothy hated having her photo taken, and I'm not sure who draws the duty of telling her that a gigantic photo of her appeared on a video board in Times Square. Maybe it's good that we have a little lead time.

This whole episode got me thinking about friends. I've never been good at keeping up with mine. I've collected a few good friends in every town and every job, and we love it when we see one another. But I've never been good at picking up the phone and calling, and I always seem too busy to visit. Facebook helps. But it's not a friend's voice in your ear, and it's not a friend's smile in your eyes.

Dorothy was in a crisis, and her friends stepped up. But our friends need us in the moments in between troubles, too. And we need them.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers for Dorothy. And thanks for giving me this space to worry and celebrate. We'll get back to our previously scheduled local news, I promise.

Now: call somebody. Or make plans to stop by.

Don't wait.


Anonymous said...

meanwhile back at the ranch ...