i miss you. i met you only once, but i really miss you. when i typed that last sentence, i missed you. because you are the one who taught me where "only" goes. like, if i had said "i only met you once," then i would have meant, for example, that i had only MET you, not spoken with you.
remember when we first met? online. i think you were my first real online friend. although at first it was all business. you picked me for a disk edit, and somehow--because, big shocker, i don't exactly hold my cards close to the vest--we struck up a conversation. i told you i was pregnant, and that it was a ... big... surprise. and that my husband had lost his job.
you shared with me how you were from canada, how you missed your mother, how you lovingly and painstakingly knitted sweaters for your brother every christmas.
i asked for feedback every time i sent a job back to you. i do this with every project editor, but you... well, of course, you were different. you took the time to write back, every time. you pointed out things i had missed, ways i could improve, things to watch out for, different ways to tag the copy for the typesetter.
all of this you did out of love, without ever having met me. here's a secret: even though i always asked for feedback, critiques, ways to improve, i never really wanted to hear anything besides "you did a great job!" but somehow, the way you gently admonished, encouraged, prodded, i never felt criticized.
there were times i overdid it, and you would tell me how mad an author was about things i had changed. remember that time i decided that all the parenthetical statements should be surrounded by em dashes instead? yeah, that annoyed the author. or that time i took out all the quote marks? the author really had overused them. but he wanted them put back in.
or that time i edited a book by a woman who had actually spent time with the T@liban (don't really want people searching for that group and ending up here...)?
i sent you a card, but i think it got there too late. i know i had already thanked you a thousand times over, but i really wanted to tell you one last time what i think of you, what you mean to me.
during that dark time, i think of you as sort of my guardian angel. i think people throw that term around, "guardian angel," but that's how i see you. you are the reason we were able to sustain ourselves during that time. you didn't let me go a day without a job. every chance you had, you sent me a book. you even sneaked them past beverly. (if you are reading, bev, don't get mad, not that i think you ever read my blog...but just in case.) you would say, "just don't tell anyone."
and remember the time you were going to be in town at the sewing expo? you wanted to get together. rhys was about 6 months old, i think. i was nervous. i had never done anything like that before: meet someone in person i'd met only via email (see, there's that placement of "only" again.).
but even though i was nervous i couldn't say no. so we met, and we ate mexican, and you treated me to lunch. and it was so nice sitting across the table from you, exchanging stories, smiles.
you were old enough to be my grandmother (although just barely), but i never would have guessed it by your spirit. you were really young at heart.
and speaking of your heart, i am not sure i've ever met a person with a bigger one than you, sylvia.
i miss you.