She is quiet. She doesn’t speak up. She sits and listens to you, and watches you. She waits. She’s been hurt, and doesn’t know how to talk about it.

She’s a knockout, in her own way. Beautiful when she smiles. And when she doesn’t.

Once she gets to know you, once she trusts you, she opens up. She laughs out loud. Shaking and letting her joy pour out of her.

She studies hard. Focuses on her work. She is the first in her family to go this far. And they are proud of her, as much as they can understand what is going on.

Her family is important to her. In different ways than I can understand. She values her family, her nieces, above her own needs. They are precious to her.

Instead of buying a new pair of glasses for herself, she pays for dance lessons for the little girls. And takes joy in it. It makes her happy to see them having fun, even though her glasses are in need of repair.

I loved staying up late nights with her. Making coffee and roaming the halls of the deserted science building. Going to the roof to watch the stars and sit quiet, above the rest of the campus. Yoga in our living room, stretched out and resting.

We talked about our families. Our goals. Our wishes. Boys. (Not ours. We never had any when we were in school together.)

I went to visit her a few years back, in the windy city. We walked along the lake and saw. We went to all the places where she had not had the time to go, because she worked so hard. We went to a theatre where there are thirty two minute plays in an hour. We sat in a room and laughed together. We had fun. We listened. We observed.

We haven’t really talked in a while. We went our different ways. I still think of her. Remember her. Remember how she helped me listen.

I remember what I learned. I remember our friendship.

She helped me see.


Reflections on Faith, Motherhood, Feminism, and Bodies

Kathy Randall Bryant
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