When I re-read the story, it was very obvious what was going on; a friend that is visiting her dying best friend, and it took almost two months for her to visit, very very sad.
However, there was so much that was striking to me about this story. For one, the way Hempel starts the story with the dying best friend asking to hear about things that she won't mind forgetting. That really placed me in the ill friend's place, because instantly I thought of who would want to hear about things that they wouldn't mind forgetting and of course someone who knows they are going to forget everything important to them soon, devastating, but then the friend starts telling her things that are unimportant and that really is a nice contrast to the very sad reality of the story. I thought this two contrasting tones was a very effective technique.
I also really appreciated the subtlety of the way the Hempel gives information. "She introduces me to a nurse as the Best Friend" (Hempel 100) this is where I realized that the nurse has heard stories of the best friend, but meeting her for the first time. Very interesting.
There is so much more in this that I thought was striking, and there is so many craft elements that I would hope to incorporate in my writing some day.