What you see here is Trouble. We’re talking Halloween night, freshman year of college, just about to walk across campus in spike heels to view A Clockwork Orange to the great joy of many a slavering college boy kind of Trouble. Or maybe the kind of trouble Hannah and I tended to end up in should have had a better word for it, like Frouble; Trouble with a capital F for Fun. I can’t tell you how fortunate I feel to have known and loved Hannah through junior high, high school, college, and beyond, and Frouble is only a small part of it.
Hannah is so much better than I am in verbalizing her love for others–passionate and profuse–and if you know her she has no doubt let you know at some time or another. It’s one of her many warm and wonderful traits. I used to say she was hard on the outside with a marshmallow heart, and I think it’s still true. You don’t want to mess with the woman; she has a righteous passion that is bigger than life. And if you’re in need, she’ll bring that strength and compassion to help you. She would hold your hair back while you vomited up your sins, I know for a personal fact. Hannah is a true friend. (Unlike me, who just accidentally typed “fiend,” got the imp-fire in my eyes for about three seconds, then fixed it, with a little drop of the shoulders..). On the other hand, she can be brought to tears by the beauty of a lovingly cared for classic car, or an innocently placed word in a poem or a song, or a curl of her daughter’s hair.
A large part of the Hannah-passion is her laughter. She laughs without abandon with her entire body, the laughter somehow reflexively bending her over in half or magnetically pulling her to the floor, or when she is trying to hold it in, (for instance if you might happen to say something that could be possibly perceived as inappropriate, or might plant a potentially dangerous–Froublesome–idea in her young daughter’s presence; playing the bad-yet-fun aunt role, you know?), her chin quivers in the most adorable way. Really, it almost encourages one to make it happen.
Let me tell you about her tremendous love and knowledge of music and books (and thus dancing, reading and libraries/librarians) and her weakness for goofy grinning geeky boy-men and rock stars and dreamy authors, and basketball and soccer, and how proud she is to be the mother of Lily, wife of Andy, member of her neighborhood and beloved Ballard. How she’s the queen of thank-you notes, and just the perfect gift. How she’s got a closet full (actually, I’m speculating a bit here) of well-cared-for hip shoes and has the Dietrich legs to go with the boots and heels. How she can make a banana cake or bread that melts in your mouth.
What I’m trying to say, Hannah, is Happy Birthday, dear friend. (Again with the “fiend”…) I love you.