Here is Emily, a few months ago, lacing the back of a cross-stitch sampler under my mother’s tutelage. She brings a joyful tenacity to everything she does: you can see it here, in the concentration with which she’s tackling this task. Emily knows better than most when to hold on, and when to let go. Her apartment is a lesson in edited perfection: her drawers in order, her linens pressed. But she uses her good china, loans out her clothes, doesn’t dwell when something’s stained or smashed. She knows there’s only so much space, so much time.
Framed, the sampler sat on display during our last crafternoon. Di commented on it, and Emily explained it was a gift for her sister’s wedding, which, I felt necessary to add, was fourteen years ago. This fact almost passed without comment, except for Di’s laughter, which grew in proportion to her embarrassment. She’d only just met Emily, after all. But her laughter and the laughter grew up all around it was the appreciative laughter of women who recognise their own folly, but perservere in the face of it. Perservere, despite how strangely absurd it can be to do so. Because ultimately, how thrilling it is, how satisfying.
Happy birthday, dear friend.