One of my previous write-ups is about the women who influenced my life. Today, with a prick in my heart, I realised I'd missed one.
I got a new singing teacher today. She seems nice and I am looking forward to my lessons with her. But it made me think of my singing teacher back home who taught me for five years. She was perpetually single, probably in her late thirties, and was one of the most genuinely empathetic people I have ever met. Although she is similar to me in the way we both mask our true feelings with sarcasm and a grossly British sense of humour, inside she understood exactly what I was feeling. She was more than just a singing teacher; she was a really good friend.
And then she got cancer. We all know that it seems only to happen to the most kind-hearted people. It started out as a melanoma and by the time it was operated on it had spread to her lymph nodes. A series of recent and somewhat awkward email correspondence with her has told me that it is now in her lungs and throat and is untreatable. She can no longer sing.
As I write this I feel a dull ache in my heart, which I know is a total cliché. But whenever I think about her I start to well up. I've moved away now, and saying goodbye to her left me in tears for hours. We don't really keep in touch because we're not the best at writing our feelings down to another person. But even if my new singing teacher is a better teacher than her, she will never be a better friend.