I developed a chocolate-cake recipe in honor of her. Lizzy died of pancreatic most cancers in 2019, foreshadowed by the abdomen ache she talked about in a few of her later movies. I by no means met her in particular person, however I texted her virtually daily for years. She was certainly one of my finest buddies. She had even moved from California to Georgia, my house state and the place my household nonetheless lives, to be nearer to her sister, Jane. (The sisters’ pseudonyms, Lizzy and Jane, got here from certainly one of Lizzy’s favourite novels, “Delight and Prejudice.”)
Most of our textual content exchanges concerned my profession swap from consuming on digital camera to cooking on digital camera and the way humorous that was, and her huge transfer. Lizzy wasn’t the kind to get enthusiastic about a lot, however she was excited to start out a brand new life in an even bigger home with an even bigger yard and quieter neighbors in order that she might make her movies in peace. I at all times thought that I’d have lunch along with her sometime, and that my canine, Quentin Compson, would turn out to be buddies with hers, Mr. Darcy. She was an extremely non-public particular person, and her actual identify is, to at the present time, unknown to the general public. When you knew her full identify, she thought of you a part of her inside circle, Jane instructed me years later.
If Lizzy had been right here immediately, I’d bake her this cake. The darkish chocolate-cherry taste is enhanced by Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which produces a a lot deeper, Oreo-like chocolatiness than common unsweetened cocoa powder. The cherry is available in three varieties, two actual (the shiny layer of cherry preserves between the cake and frosting, plus the contemporary fruit on prime) and one digital (the almond extract, which is created from bitter almonds and is in the identical household as cherries, therefore the copycat taste). Once you put one thing actual towards one thing digital, then the entire thing feels one way or the other hyperreal, like my web friendship that got here and went, abandoning solely a hint within the type of stale textual content messages. It’s completely different from an in-person friendship; there are few methods to grieve the lack of one thing like this.
I’ve had bother sleeping these days. Typically I activate certainly one of Lizzy’s movies and really feel near her once more. They’re a reminder of the bizarre, random, stunning secret lives we led consuming in entrance of the digital camera so 1000’s of strangers might chill out, go to sleep and really feel much less alone. I now not make movies, however even now, years later, when one thing humorous occurs to me or I come throughout an A.S.M.R. video I like (or wish to make enjoyable of), my fingers wish to textual content her, “What do you consider this?” There have been so many questions I didn’t get to ask her earlier than the most cancers. When she died out of the blue, I felt conflicted about my grief. Was I allowed to grieve for somebody I had by no means even met?