There are so many things I’ll remember about Emma, but what comes to mind first of all are her eyes. She had the most wonderfully expressive eyes – wide, brown and brimming with mischief and wisdom.
In many ways, those eyes summed her up: she could be wickedly funny, but at heart she was also full of insight and intelligence. I remember dyeing my hair dark blue (for some unknown reason; I’d tried a few different shades – and again, I didn’t know why I was doing it). Some of my friends laughed, while others just rolled their eyes. Emma, though, looked at me curiously for a bit, then said (accurately, and far from unkindly): “When are you going to stop doing all this and just realise your natural hair colour suits you best?”. That’s a trivial example, but typical of her, I think. It seemed to me that she’d come to know her own mind so well that other people’s were often an open book to her: their insecurities and their oblique attempts to address them. She was forthright – no point wasting time – but kind and incisive, and she understood people well. Whenever I had a problem, I knew I could talk to Emma, and that, when I did, I’d always receive sympathetic and honest, heartfelt advice. On the many occasions I chose to, she was never wrong. She was the smartest person I’ve ever known.
A specific memory: the attached photograph shows Greenie. When my son was born, Emma gave him (I think of Greenie as a him; I don’t know why) to me as a present. It’s the kind of idiosyncratic gift that only Emma could have come up with. I mean, imagine searching for that thing, based on a description. At first glance, I was worried it would scare my son. It didn’t, of course. And three years later, he loves Greenie. A month or so back, the nursery had a “bring in your teddy bear” day, and Zack took Greenie. The other kids took bears. Needless to say, Greenie was a sensation. He stood out from the crowd with his character, was totally unique and everyone that saw him fell in love with him. Emma chose very well – and very appropriately – indeed. I miss her so much.