She had beautiful dark hair an very fair skin. I always felt like she was so precious and fragile, but at the same time she reminded me every day that she didn’t need help. She never needed saving or any kind of ‘hero’. My idea of affection at that age (6 years old) was very much based on what I’d seen at home which was terribly heteronormative and a feminist’s nightmare but we’ll get to that later. This girl was different and I had met many different people but no people who were really ‘different’ yet. As my life would later show me, those are the very best kind of people.
Her taste in music was unique, I wasn’t susprised when she (years later) decided to marry a mucisian. Their family dog was called Woodstock which I only linked to the festival many years later. It was a basset hound which I don’t believe she ever stopped loving, they still have one that goes by a different name.
Their family fascinated me because she had siblings that were much older than she was, not four years, like my brother, but more than ten! I didn’t really know what that was like until I’d met her.
She was intelligent and odd and just the right amount of silly to tie it all together. I fell in love with her before I ever even knew what that meant. It was infatuation but also just a deep appreciation of this human being that wasn’t me or even related to me.
I’d always found other kids to be rather dull and dimwitted, but she was a breath of fresh air.
I enjoyed spending time with her so much. I remember that they had a swing in the back yard and based on how much I liked her I really don’t feel like we got to visit each other’s homes very often at all, so it was a rare treat when I did get to play at hers.
Side note – Her youngest brother (who is still older than she is) went on to become a journalist for a national newspaper and owner of one of the few interesting twitter accounts left in the world. I remember him as being very funny and quickwitted. He also happens to be exactly the type of man I tend to be into these days, whenever you think back on your formative memories every now and then you come across these little nuggets of ‘oh damn…’ where you’re just not quite sure what, if anything, it actually means.
Their home had quite a unique layout in that their living room was on the first floor. She’s the only person I’ve ever come across that had this, to this day. Or at least they did, util they moved across the country, which those days meant you’d probably never see each other again, which unfortunately is still the case. I received an invitation to her wedding which I would have absolutely loved to attend but couldn’t. She’s an accomplished forensic phychologist now and we have had the chance to catch up through a series of E-mails when I attended university in Amsterdam. One of my course mates (another one of those genuinely different human beings who I was drawn to) was really good friends with her in high school and hearing that was one of those moments where your universe just folds into itself a little bit and you just stare at each other for a second and go ‘No Way!?’ but then it doesn’t really go anywhere from there because we effectively knew two very different people across different times, they just happened to have the same name and be a mutual acquaintance. The only shared experience we had around her was that she was the only genuinely kind and interesting friend in a class of generally terrible people. Which I think says a lot about who she was and is.
I’d very much like to sit down with her and listen to her stories in person. Meet her husband. Maybe tell her I have a crush on her brother. Maybe not. She knows how much her family moving affected the rest of my time in primary school, and probably beyond that still. I missed her dearly. It was like someone switched off the oxygen in the room. The two years after that were probably the worst of my life. Obviously lots of factors affected that, but I’ve never shaken the idea that it would have all been so different if she’d been there with me.