I guess I was dreading it so much that I took my time to bid her farewell. I didn't know that it would have affected me so, but it did. At the back of my mind, I knew that it was inevitable, that the day would come. Living this life, homes and friendships could be transient. People come and go in my life.
She was one of the first few people I got to know in the compound. The hermit and shy side of me didn't enjoy making new friends. I heard her telling another lady on the bus about her trip to Austri@ and the new sandals she got from there. I listened to her conversation and stayed silent. I didn't want to appear forward or nosy.
I don't exactly remember how or when but we began to hang out. She was very friendly, with a big heart. Perhaps she took pity on me, perhaps she enjoyed my company, I don't know. But she included me during her lunch meets and her walks. She often invited me to hang out with her in the evenings.
When I was in my dark moods and needed to stay isolated, she understood and respected that. When I was ready to come out, I was welcomed with open arms.
She was always the light of the party. There is a certain magnetism about her. Both men and women, even children flocked to her. She was kind, gracious and full of energy. I am always entertained by her stories. Stories about her childhood, about her grandma and about the different people she met or hung out with.
Her fearlessness inspired me. I remembered the day she desperately needed a puff. She stood outside the bus while a car filled with boys teased her, drove round and round the bus and calling her something. But she casually ignored them, not batting an eyelid, took her last drag and moved on. Undisturbed.
She could stand on her ground and yet accommodate those around her. A skill which not many could have.
Her diplomacy is unsurpassed. She tolerated those who continually harassed her.
As a friend she was always willing to help. With friends you meet on the road, you can never tell. Some just want to use you, and take advantage of you. But not her. She was one of those people who showed genuine generosity and consideration.
I often admire just how easily she hung out with all sorts of people of different ages, gender and background. Perhaps it is her gift.
To Negin, I wish you the best of luck! I know you will have loads of friends around you in no time at all because its just you. Know that you are loved and deeply missed.