amber’s sister called me today to tell me she had passed

tony pierce amber smith on melrose ave. 2021

amber and i lived together for four years.
half of that was during the pandemic in a tiny apartment.

you get to know someone in that situation.

amber mona lisa mask
as you probably know she had her demons. she struggled with addictions. But she was able to kick many of them admirably.
she enjoyed going to meetings.
she enjoyed doing things that would help her in her recovery.

her sister told me they learned it was complications of her diabetes that caused her death

amber working at the fairmont
for the last couple of years she was in Washington trying to get a fresh start.
she had a boyfriend – something that was never hard for her –
she had a job working at a fancy hotel – something she was great at.

the last time she texted me she told me she was 30 days sober.

before that text she asked me to write her a card. i was reluctant because i told her i thought we should chill out on conversing so we could both move on with our next chapters – something that’s hard to do when you’ve got one foot in the Past

amber in santa barbara reading from the laptop

but i did write the card. i dont remember what i wrote. it was hard to know what to say and the pens were old and didn’t want to work.

it was all so strange.

i was also worried what she wanted it for.

amber at a black lives matter rally in 2020.
im glad i sent it though because her follow up texts were so sweet.
she was such a truly genuinely sweet person.

she LOVED being a concierge. she loved being of service.

after a few of her friends started reading my blog they’d eventually ask, “you two are sooo different, what do you talk about?”

we talked about the hotel biz A Lot.
amber next to a black mercedes and palm trees in the parking lot of the academy archives on vine
we loved this book Heads in Beds which we listened to
on a long roadtrip to Spring Training
a few years ago.
one of my favorite memories of Amber was she was at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire on Rodeo
One of her favorite books was Michelle Obama’s Becoming.

She would read me parts of it as we drove.

amber at barnsdale park picnic pizza
We loved driving all over LA. sometimes with no destination in mind.

just holding hands talking about LA.

one day Michelle Obama was a guest at the hotel.

amber found out.
amber with the national guard
she told her boss that she had read the book several times and knew The First Lady loved cheese toast
and asked if it would be OK if she ran across the street and bought a special  toaster oven that could do the right things.
five star hotels love doing things like that for VIPs.
amber at LAX

she got the ok, ran and got the toaster, fresh bread, the fixins for cheese toast and went up to the room.To her surprise Barack Hussein Obama opened the door.

Surprise bc it was top secret that he had arrived while she was out buying the toaster.

Mr President, I have read your wife’s book and I know she likes cheese toast,

so it’s my honor to deliver this to her with our regards.
She said Barack’s face lit up.
I want you to know how hard i tried to make things better for her.
I am so sorry i failed.
amber at the lana del rey concert in las vegas
When her sister said her favorite years were the ones with me i couldnt help thinking, but i wasn’t able to save her.
But we can’t, I guess.
Not always.
But dont let that stop you from trying.
amber doorway