reverb11: who did you miss?

Prompt: Who did you miss? (KaileenElise

Maria and I at her Mobile wedding in 2003. A week before this, I'd just cut my hair really short and in Maria fashion, she said, "It'll be cute. But put some barrettes in it." So I did. 

When I entered my Master's program in 2001 I had no idea what I was doing; I was 23. I met Maria who I recognized from a Shakespeare class I'd taken as an undergrad and we started talking. During Orientation, we bonded and were inseperable from that day on. We took quite a few classes together and spent much of our spare time together. I tagged along with Maria and her boyfriend (now husband) for years. 

We just clicked, the way the best friends do. 

She is unlike anyone I'd ever known. Maria is petite but fiery. She says exactly what is on her mind. She can be incredibly serious and wonderfully silly. She is one of the most remarkable people I have ever met.

Being friends with Maria changed my life. Her drive and motivation encouraged and inspired me. She pushed me to apply for a tutoring position and later a T.A. position. We applied to Ph.D. programs together and both ended up in the Midwest. 

We visited one another often while we were in our respective programs, her at Purdue and me at ISU. I always felt secure knowing that she was going through some of the same craziness as I was. Maria was often my voice of reason in tough times. She was my shoulder to cry on, but only for a minute and my #1 secret-keeper. 

Three years ago, my brave best friend and her husband moved to the Middle East where she took a job revamping the Professional Writing program at a university there. She's traveled the world since she sold most of her belongings and moved across the globe. I miss her, constantly. 

We've talked and emailed, of course. Facebook helps me see her adventures as they happen. And I will always feel close and connected to her, one of my oldest friends. But I missed her this year more than most. 

I wish I could find this picture of us at Halloween. I am a flapper; she is Zorro. I don't have many pictures of us together. Don't you find that to be true? Some of the most fun times and the best people are never captured on camera together. 

Maria in Sri Lanka 2011 (from her Facebook page)