Maria Clara Ferri has shown up in two stories of mine, “Drunk Talk” and “Happy Halloween,” and in one nonfiction piece, “Karaoke.” For a variety of reasons, some people can’t be contained on the page. There’s something about them which is beyond words, like trying to capture the beauty of dust motes in sunlight or a plume of smoke in a velvet room. Maybe your emotions about them are difficult to identify. Or maybe the difficulty is simply trying to describe something which needs to be experienced to be understood, like hearing their voice or feeling their skin. Sometimes metaphor helps. In any case, you’ll recreate these people as fictional characters again and again because they fascinate you, and you can’t pin them down.
We call Maria “The Maria Show.” The problem pinning her to page is that she’s too large. Her over-the-top personality – the kind which makes people comfortable using the word persona - can’t be captured by anything as trivial as words. Some people light up a room; Maria turns a room into a disco ball.
I’ve always enjoyed spending time with her, but during my separation she’s stepped up to blow the dust from the corners of my mind and shake me into action, she’s listened to my rambling phone calls and offered some of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten. I’ve attached myself to her coattails, or rather the length of her flowing summer dresses, and my social life has blossomed by proximity. If Maria hadn’t kidnapped me a few weekends, I may have reached out to someone else, or someone else may have reached me, but more likely, I would have wallowed. I can’t imagine these last months without her to see me through.
And she left. She left Miami, and she took her charm, her laugh, her smile, her understanding, her candor, and all the wonder of The Show with her.
I wish her luck. With her twenties behind her, I hope she finds the man she wants. I hope she builds new friendships as deep as the ones she’s made in Miami. I hope she gets back all the happiness she gives.
And I wish Atlanta luck in trying to hold her back.