Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Miss Smith

I just found out that someone I know has died, and I had to find out via Facebook.  She's one of those people who don't fit neatly into a "friend", "acquaintance" or other category.  Mostly, she would ask me about my cousin, because her and my cousin were best friends.  The last time I saw her was outside the hospital, where I had an appointment.  I can't even remember why I was there; it was a few years ago now.  I remember her telling me that something was wrong, and that she was scared.  To be honest, she wasn't someone I spoke to a lot, but that last conversation was something like a call I would have taken as a Samaritan.  I don't know whether she was just scared, or she wanted to confide in someone and felt more comfortable with someone she didn't know so well, but I got to know her better in those few minutes than I had before.  I feel guilty now that I didn't wait around for longer, because she made it clear that no one was there with her.

Back in the days when I drank more than was healthy, I saw her with some friends.  She looked miserable. "Nobody loves me," she said.  "I do.", I replied, heavily under the influence of alcohol.  Her friends left us alone, not realising I had meant it in a platonic way, and she sat staring at me, neither of us knowing what to say.  After a few minutes, she left too.  For a while, whenever I saw her, she would criticise everything I said and did.  In truth, she was quite mean to me.  I asked a mutual friend what I had done.  "You didn't make a move," he said.  I didn't understand.  "You had a chance to make a move, and you didn't."

I don't know what else to say.  People I know would probably think I'm not affected by things like this, or that I didn't know her well enough to be upset.  What I heard from other people was how tough she was, but what I saw in my few interactions with her was her vulnerability; her humanity, I guess.  That last time she spoke to me, she said that people had her all wrong, that they thought she was something she wasn't.  I don't know about that, but I wish I had known her better.

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