Beth, our girl, she was made of magic.
This grief is a sour molasses in which we wade, trudging, it is unforgiving, each second feels like an eternity of waiting for something that will never arrive. Yet I feel like it is only right that I write something for her, she was always the biggest supporter of my creative endeavours, Beth felt no shame in creation, whereas I often stumble in it, fumbling around for reassurance. She had a blind faith in me, like she did all of us, that we could be something great. Beth was lit with ideas on how to better us all, nuture us, a brow constantly furrowed, thinking. Her passion projects were both beautiful and with purpose, if things were interesting to look at guaranteed the story behind them would be even better. I liked going round to sit in her room, always a scene of chaos, a mad hatters haberdashery of paper cut outs and streams of glitter and iridescent fabrics. Sometimes I felt like I was sat inside her mind, reading her books and going through boxes of knick knacks and found objects as she napped next to me.
We made plans to make zines together, of her work and my words, but I thought we had forever to make that happen. We spoke for hours of what colour we’d paint our first houses, and that her imagined children would draw all over the walls and mine would spill and be clumsy and she would be the cool ‘aunt’. I would ship my future children over to her house where she’d be waiting with a craft stall set up, a bead workshop, finger painting stations with newspapers strewn everywhere, she would be enriching their creativity, we’d laugh that I would be in the living room ignoring them drinking pints of gin and tonic.
I often wondered if she thought we were mocking her idiosyncrasies, we would talk about them constantly, often just sighing “Beth” to each other with a wicked smirk, the truth is, we were and will always be besotted and that knowing her was like being in a special club, feeling often smugly entitled and thrilled, always proud that we could call her our friend.
We got to watch her grow and evolve and shed insecurity and often hindering self doubt and become more and more herself and less like anyone we had ever met. Truthfully, Beth’s authenticity scared me. Whilst we were young and I was in a fools labyrinth, aiming to be stereotypically attractive, she was already so beautiful with ease. Its hard to imagine holding her hands without feeling the weight of her silver rings, her curls tickling your nose as you slept bundled together, her lipsticks of violet and burgundy stained on wine glasses. As my young brain wasted itself on the superficial, Beth was plotting to fix the world we live in, up cycling, sewing, building things, reading up on capitalism and socioeconomics, faith and race and the human experience. I always wondered if Beth felt pressure to keep us all happy, and be happy. When she felt the weight of the world’s problems, they seeped into her, a product of being so astutely aware and conscious.
Her social presence was of course a happy one, but behind being sweet natured was a mind razor sharp, wit so dry it sometimes went undetected, fragments of her like easter eggs you could hunt for with great reward if you were given the chance. It isn’t often you have somebody in your life for 13 years and still feel excitement flutters when you’re walking to their house just to walk the dogs and eat crisps with them, how wildly lucky we have been.
It isn’t for me to share every memory I have of her, because she was yours too. I’m certain when you close your eyes, a showreel of her is playing, seamlessly, hours of your tears, and coffee mornings and bickering, your sorrows and dark confessions you exchanged, bath times and snack times and cigarettes, keep playing it, even though it hurts, keep on playing it.
Now is not the time for music or dancing or films, emotive materials are too dangerously delicate, I find myself tip toeing around my usual lifestyle, unable to have foresight into the next hour let alone the next week, month, year. That will subside hopefully, it is hard when I want to consume every piece of our life together, remember all our shared interests and places, but the wave of agony arrives with memory, loving is exhausting business.
She always did laugh at how melodramatic I am.
I like to imagine that she’s still travelling, and that knowing she was euphorically happy seeing the world, that she still is out there, somewhere drinking knock off cans of Strongbow in south east Asia. She’s where she should be covered in pigment powder dyes of India in saffron, teal and fuchsia, collecting beads and trinkets to bring back and show us, she’s kissing and laughing and eating Pad Thai and swimming, waking up hungover and bleary eyed and giving her heart to people other than the people she left at home, because love is limitless and everyone in the world should have met her, I feel sad for everyone that didn’t.