|17 Oct 2019|
This resonated with me because Ila always said I was her ‘sensible’ friend. I was the one she would come to when she needed something sorting. I never quite understood why as I’m not really someone who has their life sorted but after seeing this quote I finally understood why our relationship worked. She was passion and I was reason and it worked both ways.
Ila had many passions in life and she was always thinking of ways to re-invent herself. At school, it was karate girl, whilst abroad together it was traveller girl and more recently in Lisbon it was gymnastics girl. These are just a few of my favourites. We all knew her ideas and career prospects were ever changing and she was always asking me whether these clothes were ‘traveller’ enough or whether Russia was the best place for her to learn Olympic standard gymnastics. However, I never quite managed to understand her lust for completely unachievable ideas and I would suggest something more manageable like learning to knit - much to her horror. But this is why she was passion, and I reason.
Her unwavering generosity with time is a common theme when speaking to Ila’s friends. I remember calling her up in my first year of university having had my heart broken and wailing down the phone about my impending spinsterhood. Not once did she laugh at me and instead, she said, “Come on now Attie, you’re 20 years old. Now is not forever,” followed quickly by a, “Now, let’s talk about something more interesting…ME.” And with that, we laughed and I completely forgot about why I was upset.
At school, we would feed each other Nutella straight from the jar with our fingers - St Swithun’s wouldn’t have been complete without seeing Ila at least once a week walking down the corridor with chocolate spread across her face.
Ila saved me in so many situations I can’t tell you. I know I’m not the only person who would call up about problems and one of the things I struggle with most is the fact I can’t call her up about how to deal with this. She always gave good advice, even if sometimes it was a little outrageous. But I’m sure there are so many of us who are sad that we won’t receive a “How’s life?” text from Ila or get to ‘snoogle’ with her again.
But Ila, you will remain with us always and you will be my honorary bridesmaid at my wedding, godmother to children when I am older and your words will forever be that little voice in my head so that I never look like a divorced middle-aged English teacher again. And for that, I thank you.