Dear Mrs. Lanterman,
The date is August 26, 2017, and it is 2:03 PM. I am wearing my glasses and a comfy earth-toned sweater I crocheted myself. My log is in my lap. Much water from my eyes has fallen on it. My lenses are covered in salt stains. I’ve put my chunk of sticky pitch gum on the rim of my coffee mug for the moment. It’s hard enough already right now to find my voice and speak.
I have loved you since the first time I saw you flipping light switches at the Twin Peaks town hall meeting a couple of decades ago. Your style, your intuition, your wisdom, and your Log brought me into the town’s fold unequivocally. And because of you I never left.
Earlier this year, when asked about which character in Twin Peaks I related with the most I said you:
“I’d always related most with Margaret Lanterman since she’s a figure who exists on the margins of Twin Peaks and somehow always makes waves wherever she goes. As an older woman Margaret is simultaneously invisible and hypervisible, which is also a common experience for biracial women of color like myself. We both share uncanny senses of intuition and perception, as well as looking at life through pairs of glasses.”
There is so much I adore about you, but arguably my favorite thing is how self-contained and strong you were. You knew people made fun of you. You didn’t pay them any mind. And your heart was so big, you helped the people who belittled you anyway. Because that’s just the kind of divine woman you are. I always wanted to be more like you and my anger always gets the better of me. It always comforted me, though, to know that every so often yours got the better of you too.
Since the first time I saw you, you have always been on my mind, whether consciously or not. A few years ago we had the most beautiful oak tree outside our patio. The tree had been there for decades longer than this apartment complex. It provided shade in the often grotesque Florida heat. It was adorned with native orchids, and radiated that special kind of knowledge that only old trees can. On October 28, 2013 — the 13-year anniversary of the terrible day I witnessed my friend’s murder — I awoke to find the landscapers had started cutting my special tree down. Apparently his roots were interfering with the swimming pool and the co-op board voted to get rid of him.
All day I had my face pressed against our window, weeping as they dismantled the beautiful tree. I could feel each saw blade cut in my own flesh. It was like someone ripping out my heart. When they stopped for the day they surrounded the stump with crime tape. Fitting. What they did felt like a crime against nature.
My husband and I waited until after dark. We tore down the tape. We rescued as many logs as we could. I had huge splinters and a sprained ankle by the end of our mission, but I had salvaged what I could of my old friend whose absence has remained ever-present in the years since.
What’s funny is that you are so much a part of me, Lady Margaret, that I didn’t even think about you when I rehomed and decorated my log collection. It wasn’t until last year when I was rewatching Twin Peaks for the sixth (seventh?) time that my husband said you reminded him of me. “How so?” I asked, “Other than the bangs and glasses, I mean.”
He looked at me like I had three heads. “Um, your logs out there?”
Like you, Lady Margaret, the logs had become so much a part of me I didn’t see them as separate entities sitting out on our patio. When we move, those logs are coming with me.
You’re the only one who would understand, Margaret.
And my heart is all kinds of broken right now at the news of your passage out of this mortal coil.
*Sobbing* I’m so sorry. I was hoping to get through this without blubbering.
*Deep, shaky breath*
My dearest Lady Margaret. I had hoped you’d be with us until the very end, but I am so grateful for all the time I got to spend with you these past few months. Every new time I saw your face and heard your voice was a gift I treasured like little else. I am so honored, privileged, and grateful to have seen you so much after all these years.
When I watched you die alone and the light go out in the cabin you built with your own hands, you badass inspiration, I was so upset. And angry. Why did you have to die alone? Isolated? Out there in those tricksy woods? You should have been surrounded with your friends, with Hawk and Frank, with the Twin Peaks community.
Then I realized, I was with you. The entire Twin Peaks community were all there with you. We all wept along with you. We all honored your light as it went out with our tears. So many tears we can name a new river after you. You were not alone when you went. You were never alone. That was part of your beautiful magic.
Lady Margaret, I fully-body cried for three hours after your death. I cried so long and so hard I ran out of tears but still kept crying. I cried so long and so hard my abdominal muscles were sore the next day. I cried so deep that the day after I had the familiar melancholy that has been with me since I was a child, but the profound fury, frustration, and general discontent that had been poisoning me for some time were gone. Gone like a turkey in the corn. I feel and I am emptied of so much that had been troubling me. I feel a new readiness to live I haven’t felt in years.
And it’s all because of you.
Thank you, Mrs. Lanterman. You will always be the heart and soul of Twin Peaks. Thank you for being such an enchanting and fundamental part of the community for so many years. Thank you for being one of the few people in town I saw myself in and was empowered by. Thank you for the very poetry of your presence. The town will never be the same without you. And nor will I.
Goodbye, Margaret. I will miss you most of all.
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