She lived her life concerned about the inside of people, the inside of herself. She’d forget what you looked like, never notice a new haircut, new color, a shaved mustache or beard. She wouldn’t know if you wore the same thing every day. I once wore big dark-rimmed glasses just to see what she’d say and it flew by her attention as if I’d been born with them on. . . and she’s known me since just about then; best friends kindergarten through college.
If she asked you a question she’d present it carefully, each word picked like the best blooms for a bridal bouquet. Then she’d wait, stare at you with an intensity meant to make you realize the importance of your answer but instead only made you feel pressured, flustered, and if you did not know her well, probably annoyed.
“What did we learn?” she asked me three hours before graduation ceremonies would begin. “What, if it comes down to a sentence, was the most important knowledge we’ve gained?”
“Not to mix wine and beer?” I said. I hoped that maybe on this one day at least she would relax, enjoy, go with the flow of the crowd. Believe me, nobody else would be pondering beyond missing their friends, gaining their freedom, their summer trips to Europe or at the very least, Belize.
“No,” she said. “We’ve learned that we are a core, with apple growing around it.”