I have not seen since I was about 16 - and that is a very long time ago. She had not changed that much, older of course and her hair is going grey but she is still recognisably the person with whom I had once been to school.
We were not friends - or enemies. She was just another pupil. Our interests were, and still are, wildly divergent. She had come in to the arts and crafts area of the Show to meet someone else before they headed off for lunch. Arts and crafts hold no particular interest for her. The quilts on display in the area in which we were working were "quite nice I suppose".
I do not quilt and many other people who came through the area do not quilt but they found the quilts on display genuinely beautiful and/or interesting. She did not. It is just the way she is. I have no doubt that she finds her animals just as beautiful and interesting.
I introduced her to one of my colleagues at work there.
"Oh, you two must have a lot to catch up on then!"
We did not. I asked the usual questions. Yes, she had married and yes she had children and now grandchildren. I asked if she had entered anything in the Show. Yes. At no point did she eleborate on any of her answers. I remember that she was just the same way at school. Holding a conversation of any sort with her was always difficult. "She never says much" was the way other students would describe her. I can usually get people talking about themselves or something that interests them, most people are only too happy to talk about such things. Her virtual silence did not bother me. I could remember what she was like. I felt she would be happy just to wait.
Nothing more was said until my colleague suddenly asked, "Were you at one of the school's Cat's father ran?"
Oh yes, she was. Suddenly she was enthusiastic, genuinely enthusiastic.
"Cat's father was a great teacher."
What made him like that my colleague wanted to know.
"Well he was terribly patient. If you didn't understand something he would explain it again and he would do it in different words so that you did understand. I have always remembered that."
At that moment her friend arrived. They went off. I wonder if she went on talking?