When I first met her over two years ago, I was intimidated.
She was one of those patrons that everyone catered to, and looked as through they were afraid to disappoint her, or not be able to help her, or to anger her.
Everyone referred to her as Mrs. Noelle, rather than by her first name as we do with everyone else.
Naturally, I followed suit.
She's a member of my discussion group, and though she rarely speaks, I could see she always had something to say.
After once such discussion, she politely but firmly told me never to call her Mrs. Noelle. It made her sound old.
In the course of a "small talk" conversation once I mentioned that I was weird. Her eyes lit up and she told me conspiratorially that she was too.
And thus, a friendship was born.
She is over 50 years my senior, but has a sharper understanding of politics, religion, philosophy, the supernatural, human nature and human emotions than most people I know. Her words are carefully chosen, and her thoughts are far reaching and intelligent.
She is such a joy to talk to, and she makes me yearn to be more: more well read, more intelligent, more philosophical, just...more.
Last night, I was invited to her home for wine and cheese after work, and for the next two hours and more, I don't think there was more than a few seconds of silence. We rambled from one topic to another, trading stories and thoughts, sipping our wine and watching the sun slowly set on her back garden.
I left with a smile on my face and a new appreciation for new friendships, the kindness of strangers, and a good bottle of wine.
She is such a joy, and I'm so fortunate to be friends with her.