She wore beauty as though it was a bathrobe tossed around her shoulders, functionally draped as she made her way to morning’s first brew. It suited her and her solemn countenance, ornamented with well-timed smiles and effortless wit, though sometimes I wondered if she buffered her sparkle only to spare the rest of us the awkwardness of inadequacy.

Smart, elegant, inspirational, all seem thoughtless cliches, even through buzzing lips in exhalation, emptying my shoulders of poise in an emphatic gesture of authenticity. Even now I find myself lacing my sentences, trying too hard to be sophisticated, unimpressed and unbroken, like when I masked my awe with conversational nodding at her story — one of resilience — for she raised her children on her own, after her beloved was gone.

She went on to become a leader in her field, planting seeds and building a home. They’re now all grown, settled and sealed with that beauty she possessed in extravagant proportions. Just as the last of her flowers bloomed, she departed, leaving us to once again reason with unfairness.