Visiting Pete and Niko up in Napa last night, Kate and I found out that an old friend from the Daily Californian, Torri Minton, had died. Forty-seven years old. We last saw her in January: We had gone up to a restaurant a few blocks from here one Saturday night when Tom was out with his friends. We walked in and Torri was there with a friend of hers from the San Francisco Chronicle. We said hi and I ate a couple french fries off her plate; though we hadn’t seen her for a year or two, probably, it was like running into one of your closest friends. She and Kate exchanged emails, but we didn’t wind up getting together again. The Chron’s obit said she was diagnosed in April with a very aggressive form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma that rarely strikes adults. She died in August.

We worked together only briefly — a couple years at the Daily Cal in the early ’80s. I can’t claim to have been one of her best friends or anything, but I think everyone who got to know her would tell you that she radiated all sorts of qualities: toughness, intelligence, heart, joy, humor, beauty. It’s stunning, though not surprising, how quickly the people who have added something big or small to our lives along the way can vanish.

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