We first bonded because I was the only person she’d met who could give her a good reason for not liking the Lord of the Rings books. She was impressed by my thinking, I was enamoured with her for valuing it. That was when I was in year nine, and I honestly can’t remember the details of many individual conversations or meetings after that one, though I do remember from all of them an ease. We got on; could talk and joke with a relaxed wit, a common disposition towards the world.
Mum once called my relationship with her “The Mutual Appreciation Society”, which was pretty well spot on. I never felt that I had to impress her, never felt out of my depth or anxious, because, somehow, she seemed to think I was pretty special already, just for being myself. I, in turn, admired her greatly, thought she was one of the coolest people I’d ever met. We shared an open respect for each other, one unmatched I think in my dealings with almost anyone else.
She was sharp and funny, well read and caring. She worked in the town library, raised a huge brood of loud, friendly and mad children, and of course was quite mad herself (many of us are, the creative and clever you find in small towns). She was well spoken but not snobbish; grand in her words and her brilliance but never vague or superior in her dealings. She was straight forward, confident, had lived a full life and taken all of it in her stride, building a heft of experience and knowledge and vitality that propelled her and powered her in her every moment.
She was, and always will be, one of my absolute favourite people.
Though there is no shortage of fantastic women in my own family, I’ve often thought that if I must get older, I want to do it like her. If, when I am her age, I can look at my life and consider myself even half the woman she was, consider myself in possession of even a fraction of her character, her brilliance, I will be proud.
And, for the time being, I take a great deal of pride in knowing that she, for whatever reason, liked me. It is an honour and a pleasure to have known her, to consider her a friend.
I am going to miss her very much.