Allison and I met each other during our freshman year at Reed College. I was absolutely smitten by her piercing blue eyes of ice, rimmed with white clouds and deep black centers. Like a glacier. Snow and ice. If you took Mendenhall glacier, smashed it together, pressed it into two stones about 1/2" in diameter, those still wouldn’t do Allison’s justice. They were that blue, clear, and deep.
I tried to woo her. We never "dated". Just the college experience of discovering how to navigate young adulthood.
My fondest memory was taking her out for coffee, or Chai in her case, down on Hawthorne, at some hippie café shop. We sat outside, under a tree, lit with strings of white Christmas lights. We talked. For hours. It was the first time that I talked to someone like that. We shared our dreams. Talked about our lives. What our hopes were. Our futures ahead of us.
She told me about India. The year she spent in the middle of nowhere, in some village, teaching English. I thought she was the bravest, most courageous woman.
She listened to me. She had this understanding, nonjudgmental attitude. She heard me. I felt ok to be open with her. I had never talked to someone like that. But she had this comforting demeanor, like it’s ok, I’m hear for you.
When we walked back to campus, and we said goodnight outside her dorm, I didn’t feel the need to put a move on. Or sneak a kiss. It felt like a mutual respect. Like it didn’t need to happen.
She was my first experience at love. She was so beautiful And smart. And cool. And brave. And sexy. And warm.
I looked her up on Bing a couple of days ago. I was reminiscing about Reed. And was wondering how she was. I was sure she was doing something good for the world. That’s who she is.
And I found this Tribute.
I wish I could have told her how much I admired her strength and courage. I read all the posts. And it looks exactly how I imagined her life would turn out. Following her passions. Helping and educating. Touching so many lives.
She was special.