The “Cindy” Chapter

The “Cindy” Chapter

I saw Cindy at a funeral for a mutual friend. She knew my parents when they first immigrated to California from England and had worked with my dad for decades. After telling her about my journey to find Zoë’s pictures, I learned she had a couple in her possession. Cindy was nice enough to let me borrow them for a few weeks and get them scanned.

I always liked Cindy. She was a tall confident woman who got to her station in life by being direct and assertive. In the early ’80s, Cindy commissioned my mom to draw a picture of birds with the specific request that it include grasshoppers and spiders. She paid $500 for the Three Parakeets. Cindy would describe how pained Zoë was to take any money from her.

A few months after the Three Parakeets was finished, Cindy received a gift from Zoë in the mail. It was a drawing of a bobcat with a note that said:

For Cindy a kindred spirit With lots of love from Zoë x….

While Cindy told me this story, she got close to the Three Parakeets hanging on her bedroom wall and touched one side of the frame. I sensed that Cindy had a lot to say about that time of her life – a lot to say about a version of Zoë that she hadn’t thought about for a long time. I wanted to know, I wanted to be there. In this place that she was remembering about herself, about Zoë. But I felt out of place, and I didn’t want to pry. I thought I was just there to pick up a picture.

Still looking at the hanging spiders in the picture, she told me about her ex-husband Jack who she knew to have four of Zoë’s pictures. I could tell Cindy had, and would always love Jack. Even as she described him as an anti-social and incredibly difficult person, I got the sense that Cindy loved that part about him, and that she cared for him. She softly went on to highlight just what a strong relationship Zoë and Jack shared around their mutual love for birds.