Everyone who knows Alana knows that Alana loved ice cream and sweets. She once told me that she had a second stomach for sweets. When she lived in Noe Valley, one favorite casual spot of ours was Noeteca. At the end of the meal, you could count on us to get a coconut snowball. It was so good!!!
During the day, if it wasn’t a day we were having brunch, we’d go to Bi-rite. We’d both always taste a few flavors before deciding. When Alana liked a flavor, you’d see and hear one or more of the following: the happy little shoulder dance, “mmmmm,” with that look of appreciation in her eyes and a little smile. When she didn’t like a flavor: a quick shake of the head, an expressive frown, and some phrase like “I’m not sold” or “meh.” Then we’d go to Dolores Park and watch the pups. Alana always noticed that ones that were so busy! (Since I have always had dogs and it is part of my contract with them, I would proclaim that a completely fine-looking dog was ugly. Alana would look too and then negate my comment with a kind “no.”)
I moved away several years ago, but I tried to come back at least every six months or so, especially after Alana’s diagnosis. When she couldn’t swallow solid food a couple of years ago, during one of my visits I made her a soup to help nourish her—but of course I also made her a chocolate mousse and lemon pudding for her second stomach. She was so upset and scared, but she was also so strong, so brave, and so full of the desire to live and love. During that visit (and every visit), Mac was so careful to make sure she had everything she needed—a mask and hand sanitizer to protect herself from germs, the loving kiss from Mac to keep Alana safe until our return.
I last saw Alana in the middle of August this year. Her mobility had declined, but she was still so resilient. We drove to the mall in Emeryville, since she needed new sunglasses and makeup. As we came out of the parking garage, I spotted a Dippin’ Dots machine, and exclaimed about it. (My boyfriend loves his Dippin’ Dots!) It turned out Alana had never had Dippin’ Dots. We tried the cookies and cream flavor, which tasted strangely very similar to me as the only other flavor I’ve tried (banana split). She wasn’t a huge fan and we threw it out before finishing it. Yet, there was something that appealed to her. We were texting a month or so later and she said she needed to go back to the mall because she didn’t like the sunglasses she got, and she was thinking she needed to try it again—perhaps another flavor to see if the flavors really did all taste pretty much the same.
Alana’s text: Operation: Dipping Dots
My reply: I’m now picturing you ninja-style approaching the machine, most likely from the sky.
Alana’s response: Hell yes.
Posted by Nalani