Joanne Banarer might be dead. Her eyeglasses had brownish-tinted lenses and I wish I remembered what the frames were made out of (I’ll imagine something purple and plasticky). We thought she might have been a chain smoker in her youth. She was often tired or at least it sounded that way, like the way you struggle to speak near a billowing campfire. She’d suffer through at least one bout of coughs each week and it would discomfit her and worry us. Some of our seniors have memories of her using a small loudspeaker and microphone during class—the kind that tour guides use on group tours, say, at the Louvre or at Gyeongbokgung Palace—but we never got to see this and they sat atop a cabinet unused, diverting us a couple days out of the year. We loved her, I feel. We called her up and enjoyed brunch together at Brent’s in 2012. I ordered lox, I think. She mentioned she was having brake trouble and got into a minor accident some days before. Other than that, she was enjoying her retirement. She said with such assurance that we would all be friends for life.
Ms. Banarer told me to write. I know I have enough to write about now, but I suppose there’s still fear—unhelpful, really, but potent: a fear that I would be taking up space and wasting people’s time with poor writing and irrelevant thoughts. I find myself minding less these days. So, I’d like to write now.
Grateful in this moment for Joanne Banarer.