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 individual, however I texted her virtually day-after-day for years. She was considered one of my greatest associates. She had even moved from California to Georgia, my residence state and the place my household nonetheless lives, to be nearer to her sister, Jane. (The sisters’ pseudonyms, Lizzy and Jane, got here from considered one of Lizzy’s favourite novels, “Pride and Prejudice.”)
Most of our textual content exchanges concerned my profession change from consuming on digicam to cooking on digicam and the way humorous that was, and her huge transfer. Lizzy wasn’t the sort 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 all the time thought that I’d have lunch together with her sometime, and that my canine, Quentin Compson, would turn into associates with hers, Mr. Darcy. She was an extremely personal individual, and her actual identify is, to this present day, unknown to the general public. When you knew her full identify, she thought of you a part of her internal 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 kinds, 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 constructed from bitter almonds and is in the identical household as cherries, therefore the copycat taste). Whenever you put one thing actual towards one thing digital, then the entire thing feels in some way hyperreal, like my web friendship that got here and went, forsaking solely a hint within the type of stale textual content messages. It’s totally different from an in-person friendship; there are few methods to grieve the lack of one thing like this.
I’ve had hassle sleeping these days. Generally I activate considered 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 digicam so hundreds of strangers might loosen up, 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 need to make enjoyable of), my fingers need to textual content her, “What do you think of 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?