In college, I had a deep and abiding crush on my friend Jan. I’d just limped to Pueblo after a disastrous series of reckless adventures. I was twenty two and gawky and a little bruised by life. Jan was few years older, and everything about her was quirky and cool and interesting. She was tall and wore her hair short when everyone else wore theirs long. Her lipstick was bright (as I came of age in the “long and silky” era, I didn’t even know how to wear lipstick!) and she drove a Karmann Ghia. Her apartment was on the second floor of an old building in downtown Pueblo, with long windows and wallpaper with cabbage roses and a huge, sunny kitchen where she had pinned postcards and quotes in odd spot. By the sink: “I have too many fantasies to be a housewife.” She was also a mothering sort, and took me under her wing. She cooked for me and invited me to sit in that beautiful kitchen and lay down all the sad stories I was carrying around. She had come from some grimy city just over the river from St.Louis, and had made her escape to Colorado, but now the horizon was calling her and she thought she would go to San Francisco. It sounded like a dream, so I didn’t think a lot about it.When the spring semester finished, however, it turned out that she was serious. She was leaving. She packed her belongings into that little yellow Karmann Ghia and headed out for the glamor of San Francisco. It was the early 80s, before the Great Darkness there, and as she drove away, looking like one of her own vintage postcards, a scarf flying around her neck, I envied her the adventure. But I got her apartment. And her fern.Which sits now by my front door. Lately, it astonishes me that it’s so old. It’s older than my children! It outlasted my marriage! Ian once gave it a radical haircut when he was two or three, right down to the dirt, but it came right back and grew more hair to thrive at nine addresses. And often, when I water it, I think of Jan and her bright lipstick and her kindness to a lost young woman. I’m pretty sure she knows what she gave, but if not, I’m sending a thank you out in the ether.Do you have a memento (living or not) that reminds you of someone you lost touch with?