I remember the night. A flat party of some description. Bell Street - it was the first time I'd ever been there, but not the last. If I wasn't drunk it was because I couldn't afford it. Thirteen years ago. There was a lot of banter. It was mostly a theatre crowd. It may have been a cast party, I'm not sure. If it was then it was only twelve years ago, not thirteen.
Furniture wasn't necessary. A bunch of us sat on the floor. She lay on her back with her knees up, chatting away. She was conducting. The conversation in our group centred around her, she guided it. She shot down my lame attempt at chatting her up with a smile.
We flirted anyway. Kind of. Circular banter, that went round for the joy of it. It was almost like a contest. Almost. Maybe it was for her. It might have been for me too. It was fun chat. That sort of vivacious conversation that gets the head and heart going. We introduced ourselves.
Her name was Fiona. One of maybe a dozen Fionas I knew at that time. She was from New Zealand, so she was Kiwi Fi.
We both did theatre, but never the same show. Our circles of friends overlapped. We worked together on a committee. She was incredibly bright, witty and fun to be around. When I think of her, I think of that night we met in a flat on Bell Street.
She took me aback.
It's so clear, that night. I remembered it again when she dropped me a line a few months ago. A brief electronic chat. She seemed well.
She died this past weekend.
The world is poorer for it.
There's a tribute to her here.