Quincy was my best friend Alex's cousin. She came, with her Greek boyfriend, Christo, to stay with us in Paris when we lived there in 1972. They also brought their black lab, Orion.
Quincy was a bright-spirited, highly-energetic woman who loved to walk around Paris. She was relentlessly cheerful and all but unstoppable. I would walk with her from time to time. She had a quirk of rubbing her thumb and forefinger together as she walked, the rubbing faster as the pace became more brisk. And it always did. She was slim, with long, fine brown hair and a ready smile. She had a sly sense of humor, and she was kind.
A few years after all of this, I was living in Cambridge, MA. Quincy came for a conference and visited me. It was so good to see her. We walked together around a lake, and I had a hard time keeping up with her. "What's the matter, Rich--have you let yourself go? Come on! Let's go!"
A few years after that, I got a call from Alex. Quincy had been in an automobile accident. Her spine had been severed. She was paralyzed from the waist down.
The great walker would walk no more.
Nothing makes any sense sometimes.
But in my mind's eye, I still see the Quincy from Paris and Cambridge. This is who will always be Quincy for me. The relentless walker, moving swiftly on the balls of her feet, on and on and on, urging me to keep up with her, and I can't.