Write What You Know
My Nom de Plume is Carroll E. Stewart. Nom de Plume….such an elegant phrase for secrecy. Carroll is my mother’s maiden name. E, is Elisabeth for our lovely daughter. Stewart was my mother’s mother’s maiden name. I take much comfort that as I write, these women of my family sit here with me.
I like the initials CES. I think it could sound like kiss if your used your imagination.
I have had one or two ask me where I get my ideas for the stories that I write.
First, I write within the boundaries of almost sixty years of life’s experiences.
Second, this road that I am on today is the journey that is my life. There has been no road map. (I appreciate free will but once in a while, please I would like a word of knowledge.) I am stopping today to look in the rear view mirror at just one small part of the busy highway that I call my path to travel and has brought me to write fan fiction.
Vampires….well yes. They have always been there in the shadows of my mind. As a very small child, that would be in the 1950’s, my older brothers and sisters would watch on our old TV the black and white horror movies, what were all ready horror film classics. With my bowl of popcorn I would sit on the floor and watch or hide under my lovey blanket, with them.
Third. Fan Fiction. Yes, I write it. It all started when Miss Harris introduced me to Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman.
Fourth. I don’t write angst. I have a life and at times, as much angst in real time as I can stand. I believe in the Happily Ever After…for me, for you, for the characters that I write about. Well, at least for my good guys. My bad guys, I am all about Justice!
I started writing FF in late April of one year just to make my point to myself that Sookie and Eric could have a happily ever after.
I did not know when I started I Am Not An Architect, that I would be writing chapters while sitting in a hospital room with my sister, Anita.
I had just finished writing about the first Samhain party at Fangtasia.
Looking up from my laptop, I read the section about Ella handing Samuel her credit card and Samuel’s reaction.
“Really…vampires,” Anita shook her head for the nth time, raising that area where her eye brow used to be, “did it have to be vampires?”
The irony was not lost of us.
“Really, leukemia, Sister dear,” I shot back, “If you wanted to know about leukemia, could we just not have Googled it?”
We both chuckled.
How do I get ideas for my stories? Write what you know.
If you continue to read, you will know that I take that advice very seriously. And as you read, perhaps you will stop and say…well yes, I recognize that from her writings.
My darling Anita has been home and singing and dancing before The Throne for over two years as I continue to walk this plane of existence. I grieve for a long time. Some days, I still miss her so much I can’t breathe. And in those moments of my grief, when that part of me is missing, I hear her voice say, “Without the sorrow take one step closer. I am still here with you.”
Two years ago, she went home and I stayed to write this during that first month of a brand new year without her. And all the things that I have written since have been tinged with this.
In Loving Memory
She was never Anita to me, I simply called her Nita, because that is how she saw herself. I referred to her with the A when I spoke of her to others, but when I talked to her it was always Nita. That was how she signed off with her letters and cards. Her feminine signature starting with the N instead of the A. Or sometimes ending the missive with simply Love, Me. Siblings, after all, we do have nick names for each other. In our private moments, she simply called me D.
For those of you who believe your God only exists in the building that you worship in, you need to stop reading here. That is all you need to know of the relationship I had with her. The rest of this will make absolutely no sense to you and would leave you wondering how we ever got rid of that law that allowed witches to be burned at the stake.
Our story starts long before we wore these human bodies. Our earthly story started with instant recognition of each other and both of us accepting of that fact.
We saw each other the moment she stepped through the cafeteria door at the university and we watched each other until she made her way to me to tell me what she wanted for dinner. She returned to me for seconds and then returned right before we finished serving the evening meal. “We need to talk,”
…and I replied, “Yes we do.”
At that moment, I knew I no longer had to search for that “playmate” that I had been so desperate for when I was small. With her I was safe…that I could share with her those odd things that happened to me and tell her about those things that I would catch out of the corner of my eye. Here was comfort, here was home and just to ice the cake, she would think that I was not crazy. (Editor’s note: A catch all phrase that I use is “Angels in the architecture”. I use this to describe any event that you could not with your rational and perfectly logical mind explain, much less believe. For those with the higher calling to serve God (careful or you will hear Anita and I both snickering) it is perfectly okay and desirable to see “angels in the architecture” when you are a tele-evangelists, pastor, or self proclaimed prophet. This is expected. You had better have at least one good story of how you saw that angel with its sword telling you not to get on that plane because it was going to crash…or something a whole lot like that. After all, you are called of God and your flock expects this. And I do not doubt that you did…but on the flip side of that…Anita and I would always find it amusing that no one else was allowed to have these experiences. God is big business and there is lots of money to be made. Yes, in deedeeeee… For the rest of us, it can get a bit tricky. See that bit about burning witches at the stake.)
It is impossible to describe God given feelings given the human condition. Over the months, we talked and talked and pounded out what our connection, was, had been, would be. We used the term, sister, but this could not begin to explain the relationship we had. And so, for the most part, we did not bother to justify to others what we were to each other. Most folks like things in neat packages that can be labeled with text that they are familiar and comfortable with using. We have been described as best friends and at some point in the mix some one had asked her if we were lovers. When she told me that, we both broke out in laughter.
What we knew to be true was that God had taken one note of the harmony and split it into two distinct parts. That just as a male and female are meant to complete each other, that we two completed each other. That constant looking for the rest of my harmony was gone. That I was the yen to her yang. And just as different as we were, we both felt the completeness of being together. When I would call her, I could hear Roy, her first husband, calling to her, “Nita, it’s your twin on the phone.”
March 1985 We were living in Kentucky at the time and she was returning from a visit with folk who lived further south. Our baby girl was about to turn two. It was one of those rare occasions where we would actually have the day, together. No place to go, no body to see. There was always paperwork but that was just left in the car. The treat for the day was just to be able to relax and sit on the floor and play with Elisabeth.
There was a time and point later in the day when Elisabeth began watching her intently. Finally, she was looking at Anita and then me and then back at Anita. Then, taking a really good look at me, she scrutinized her Aunt Anita one more time and said with a very puzzled look on her face, “Mommy?”
We both broke out in laughter. “Well, not exactly,” she chuckled, “but you are very close.”
I was so proud of Anita, at times I thought I would simply explode this body because I could not contain the pride that I felt at what she was able to accomplish. I only wish I could be more like her.
With the things that mattered, we were in total agreement. On many fronts, we were total opposites.
I am loud, opinionated and pushy. She was soft spoken, rational, and dynamic.
She got the brains and the beauty and the perfect pitch. The effervescent personality. I got….I am laughing here…hmmm, I guess I am as solid as I am ever going to be and I have to tell you, that is a pretty scary thought.
I was the flash to her substance. She would tell you that she did not like jewelry. But she did, just pieces elegantly made and small. My approach to wearing the bright and shiny is that if you can not be seen by the space shuttle, what is the point in wearing them at all.
Looking at me as I piled on the bobbles, she would say, “You know, you are a walking target.”
Smiling, my response to her would be, “At all times, I want them to know where I am.” And I was not talking about the wrong doing humans in this world, but their much more perverted brothers and sisters on the spirit side.
Anita was the best in the business world at what she did. That is not my attempt to glamorize her. It is simply the fact. Her education and her national awards and the pedigree of her clients speak for themselves. Her clients would tell you the same thing. That is why they hired her. That is why they paid her to come in and tell them what was wrong and how to fix it.
I was told by several of her clients at her viewing that it was often a painful process.
“And yet,” I laughed, “you wrote the check and then because you enjoyed the pain so much you had her back time after time.” Laughing and nodding they all agreed to that.
I wish I could quote verbatim, here, but I can not. I can only record the feeling that was shared as I perceived it. At the viewing I was speaking to a person who said it was very clever of Anita to wear the outfits with the slight puffs, or a ruffle or pleats…to have the slight appearance of softness in the business world.
“There was,” I told the woman, “no appearance. She liked lace and ruffles and velvet jackets and silk. That was no business strategy.” Anita was feminine and she delighted in being so. She was all girl, all the time, even in her sweats and a t-shirt covered in dry wall dust. To any and all out there…if you think she wore her bits of girly-ness to soften the blow as she took you step by step what was wrong with your company and what it was going to take to fix it….that is a great big NO. Just like in her life and in her spirit, there was nothing artificial or for appearance sake. This is who she was.
For example: When we were living in Germany in 1987, Anita came to visit. It was a two fold trip: see a client in country and then off to England for a conference. Before putting her on the train to send her west into the beautiful German country side (what she was amazed at the most was how grape vines grew literally on such steep embankments and “really, they harvest those by hand”?) it was my job to prep her for what to expect…her client wanted to treat her to a traditional German meal.
“Just what exactly is that?” she asked.
So I gave her “the briefing”.
The meal, I told her, will probably start with their typical cucumber salad or it could be their green salad. Do not think American salad. It will be with butter lettuce or something mild. There will be included as a garnish and to be eaten slivered pickled radishes and perhaps some cucumbers in a nice vinaigrette . Do not think heavy American salad dressings. Depending on the meal there will be, beer, along with more raw radishes as a side. Wine will also be offered. They do not produce a red. There will be white. Drink it with everything. No ice in drinks, water will be sparkling. Nothing out of the tap.
“What about main courses?”
I explained that most of their mains stays would not be so foreign to her. After all her maiden name was German, her mother’s maiden name was German as well. She was raised in northern Indiana where a lot of Germans settled.
“What am I not going to like?”
The smoked eel…just cut it up into tinier bites and push it around on your plate…butter the bread and eat it. Liver dumplings are not to be confused with bread dumpling that you would enjoy. You will be able to tell by the smell. Poached fish will come with the head complete with eyes in tact. Just turn the plate so that the fish is not watching you while you eat. And then there is blood sausage. The mustard is good. Just cover it with that and eat it while buttering that second piece of bread.
It was, of course, the blood sausage that was traditional, that night.
As her client watched her eat it he said, “Most (Editor’s note: meaning those not German) do not enjoy our blood sausage. I have been watching you while you eat it. You either enjoyed it or you have trained your face to be a very good liar.” (Editor’s note: This is very close to the actual conversation. It has stuck with me because of the way he had phrased it.)
Now, she could have told him that she enjoyed it very much. Fudged things around a bit and let him believe that it was indeed that god-awful (Editor’s opinion) sausage that she enjoyed. But, nope, not our girl.
“I enjoyed the mustard,” she told him.
“It took”, she told me, “a lot of mustard with each bite to get it down.”
Then it was off to the conference Norwich, England. We took the bus north. We stayed at the Maid’s Head Hotel. You can Google this. Parts old, lovely, the added on modern nice enough. While roaming the streets, we found a basket shop. It is here that we bought the brooms. We got quite the looks as we carried them back to London. Then wrapping them at the airport to go in the plane’s cargo hold was yet another round of laughter. The girl behind the airline counter could not wait to help us. She called us down to her queue.
“Lovely brooms,” she kept commenting as she got out boxes to help us enclose the broom willow heads. “Just lovely. Here, let us put some more tape on that.”
But, before we leave London, I must record that it is here that she did my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The setting is as follows: We spent the day wondering all over London and had seen the sights. Her sense of direction was flawless. She poo-pooed me to put away the map. Happily I did and she navigated us to where we needed to be. We passed by a quaint little hotel and I said, “Hey, time for tea. Let’s try this place.”
Approaching the girl behind the counter, I asked if they were serving tea, yet. Checking the clock, “Oh, right oh, after four,” she smiled, “have a seat and we’ll begin.”
After we placed our order, Nita smiled at me, “Let us begin.” Sure enough, out of her handbag came a MBTI and the instrument to score it with. “I have been waiting to do this,” she told me as I poured our tea. “You need something to mark it with. I’ll score it when you are finished.” Uh-huh, yes in deed our girl was carrying both parts. She was ready and I was willing. When she had finished she was laughing. “I knew it, I just knew it!” Then she talked me through just exactly who and what I was.
There had been several miscarriages. I can not convey the sorrow and heartbreak. A memorial service was held in their honor. A child was her greatest hope….
Copied from a letter: 2/26/88 “ …On the other side of things—we’re (she and I) still here—and that always means the possibilities aren’t up. I guess we must still have work to do. I at least still have a child to bring here—all I can say is—if he doesn’t hurry, mom may be a basket case at the time of arrival.
I think we (she and I ) must need a vacation.”
…years later she met Her Beloved. Before e-mail, there were letters and cards and phone calls….lots of phone calls…did I say there were a whole lot of phone calls…her Beloved, I know she made sure that you knew exactly what you were getting into. Nothing with her was easy. But, while you were on the campaign trail, there were brief and intense phone calls when she would excuse herself to go the bathroom. Her Beloved, you were, a done deal. (Editor’s note: I am laughing here. Perhaps, you should have been talking to me.)
….My Godson…she knew you were coming, she just did not know when…
At some point, the bond that existed between us had changed. I was being flooded with such joy! “Nita!”
As I concentrated on her, I began to realize that whatever this was, it was not coming from her. Something along the lines of “What the fuck! (Editor’s note: I am also the one with the foul mouth.) How is that possible! That is not her!” crossed through my rational, sane being. (Editor’s note: Hey, I am not proud of them but I have those moments, as well.) Then, shaking off those horrible rational thoughts I was back on my game…not her…it is not her…I remember tears …it is the spirit that she carries within. When I called her and told her that she was pregnant her reply was, “That is what My Beloved said.” You could hear the hope in her voice.
Copied from a card: July 31, ’93. “The baby is growing, of course. We were at the Doctor’s two weeks ago—have I talked to you since then? According to them, I’ve only gained ½ pound-but I look 1-1 ½ months further along than I am. Oh well, Kim (the physician) would have liked to have seen more weight gain, but he’s not worried—he said I could be one of those “late gainers”—whatever that means. Actually, I’m surprised I haven’t felt anything yet-or, possibly I have, but haven’t recognized it. Tuesday begins week #19—so I should be able to identify some consistency fairly soon. Other than that, things seem to be going along fine. I only throw-up when I have to get up early (very early) in the morning and move around a lot—baby does not like it—must be that Latin blood.” (Ask me how difficult it is to get my Godson up in the morning. It is a wise mother who knows her child before he is born.)
“The father is enjoying this immensely. He likes my body when it’s pregnant—“soft and cushy”—I’ve told him it’s a good thing—an even if he didn’t like it, he shouldn’t say anything. Right?”
Oh her darling man, how happy and proud she was that you delighted in the changes that her body went through…and that you told her so proudly… often… and repeatedly. I can not stress the way you made her feel, enough. Simply, she loved the way you loved her.
That joy that she carried with in her turned into their bundle of joy! She was a mom! Her husband was a dad! Her love was complete! Just as her spirit witnessed creation, in this body she was able to share in creation with her God. From an empty nothingness to the fullness of conception and birth. A miracle happened. Anita and her beloved had created a life that would not only share their love, but the love for their Creator, as well. And what a life it is!
I would tell her from time to time that the very best thing she had ever done was to give birth to my Godson. Her smile lit up her face. “Yes,” and you could hear the happiness, contentment and pride in that one word.
My Godson, your mother and I discussed you at length on the night of December 18th. The next morning when she saw me off at the airport, I did not know that it would be the last time that we would stand face to face and say good-bye…or that I would be back two weeks later to say good-bye as my heart shattered.
“You are his Godmother,” her gaze pierced me as did her tone of passion. I did not want to be responsible for what I knew she was going to ask of me. With everything that she was she was saying to me that at some point and time she was counting on me to do the hard stuff. “He is allowed to make small mistakes. Not many and not often. These will help define him. But he is not allowed to make stupid mistakes. You are not to allow him to make stupid mistakes.”
When Anita was first diagnosed with ALL Leukemia in September, she continued to work. As the chemo took its toll on her, she would continue to tele-conference with her clients. The chemo was given in two parts…1st part was the milder(nothing fucking milder about it, it is still a very expensive refined rat poison) and the second round was the big bad…well, well, well, guess what…what seemed to work best for her was to give the big bad first and then the lesser bad of the two…………how could this not be so. Nothing got past her and nothing about her was easy. Was there a reason I thought this would be ……..
Even drugged and so sick from the chemo that she was vomiting, she was constantly looking for another opportunity to teach, as the docs and the nurses quickly learned. I saw her a couple of times when Anita would ask them about something new that was suppose to happen that had not yet caught up in the system. “No communication,” she would chuckle, “this is the reason I have job security.”
I would like to say that her passing was idyllic. That the clouds opened up and that the sun came shinning, through… well eventually they did but that is for later in the story.
In actually, she was in the ICU and hooked up to just about every kind of machine that was needed to sustain a body that no longer held her spirit. Enough said about that.
Life support was removed. She lasted for several moments on her own and then was gone. I knew when there was no longer a pulse in her throat. The nurse’s station was hooked up with her monitors. Her nurse came in and told us she had passed. However, this is, of course, Anita and nothing about her is easy. Once she had checked in with The Throne, she was apparently told, that on earth, there was still a little unfinished business. So, then she was back. I saw her pulse return and then her nurse came in and told us so.
I asked that the monitors be turned back on and how to silence them.
Breathing, blood pressure, good, but you could see the oxygen levels in her blood were dropping. Her husband sat on one side of her, her son on the other. Her husband looked at her son and said, “Did I ever tell you the story of how I met your mother?” As one memory of her after another left his loved filled heart to be shared will all of us in the room, you could see the vitals on the monitor dropping. Even the chaplain had stayed to listen as John recalled the journey he was blessed to share with the grace filled creature that Father God had spoke into existence. When the love of her life had finished his last story, she was gone.
With death comes life and our need to affirm it.
On top of the casket was the baby quilt that her mother had made for her son. On top of this rested their marriage lasso that was used in the ten year ceremony. Her husband was from Venezuela and this would have been part of their marriage ceremony if they had been married there. Embracing all that he was, she studied and read and asked questions about his culture. I believe the deal was that she would learn Spanish and he was suppose to learn to play the piano…
Instead of the piano, her Beloved picked her favorite pieces to be played until her life celebration started. And then, he picked the music that was to provide comfort for us as we sat and looked at the oak casket that no longer contained what it was about her that we loved.
She loved the smell of pine…driving me past Studebaker Park with the windows rolled down was one of those things that so irrevocably tied us together. Inhaling deeply of the piney woods, we would both smile like maniacs. Neither one of use knew why we carried that memory of that particular aroma. So, two silver tipped pine trees flanked her casket. We found pine scented candles to carry the smell.
In her hands was a bag of marbles. You have to understand that marbles called to her and she found them everywhere she went. Sometimes, in the same place, multiple times. It was a running joke…and as she found them she put them in her son’s marble jar. It was John Devon that picked out the ones that would rest with her.
Anita and I talked of many things and one time the conversation came around to anything with a round shape and how she deeply admired it. There are some great big round rocks in Costa Rica, I believe, that she wanted for their yard. “Why is it that they seek me out? That they call to me to lift something and find one there?”
“Because, Nita,” I told her, “your spirit witnessed creation. When Father spoke the words, The Void went from a full nothingness to Father’s handiwork. There are some things that are just embedded in our spirits and we carry back here with us. Where there was nothing, what did you see dancing out there in space?”
She grinned, “Well of course, the planets looked like marbles.”
Around her wing, we placed things that represented her marbles. We are never one to let any opportunity go by to remember who and what we once were and will be again.
The Alpha and the Omega and the Alpha…..
There was, at one time, in her home town, an angel gift shop. Now this shop moved from one place to another in the blink of an eye. After all, they dealt with the angelic. We thought it was appropriate. At any given time, it was just best to call and see where their newest location was.
Around, about or close to the year 1992, we ventured into the shop. As we walked in we saw sitting on the floor an exquisite angle’s wing. “Look,” Anita said as we were both laughing, “he left.” Translation: The angel’s job here on earth was obviously done. So we were both sure that with a shout of “halleluiah”, he just dropped his wings and returned home to God. The artist had captured it, beautifully.
The piece of elegant statuary was done in two colors. The shop had both: brown and white. Shortly after visiting the shop, I returned home,
He called me, “Which one does she want?”
“That would be the dark one,” I replied.
And so it came to reside in her office and then her home and on those two final days of what was called her earthly body, it fortified her coffin. It is the symbol of what she now is. A reminder that she continues………….
….and does she ever.
Hmmmm, remember that I told you nothing about Anita was easy. So far……
That first morning without her, while taking a shower, I was crying and feeling sorry for myself and telling her I was done with this house that was our home….whack…the hand held shower head fell and hit me, after I had made sure it was secure in its fixture when I first got in. I got that message.
Oh brother, brother, brother of hers….remember when you told me your vision of what her funeral should look like and I said “Let’s put the baby quilt that Louise made for their son on top of the casket instead of a spray?”
“Yes, I considered that,” you replied, “but….”
You could have saved us both time and energy if you would have just listened. There was a reason all those star gazer lilies were dead in the spray that we had made Friday morning. There was a reason you could only find a few of them that Friday morning in the city. There was a reason she was covered by the baby quilt her mother had made for her son. There was a reason that John had found the lasso tucked into a jewelry box in, of all places, the sunken living room while looking for one of Howard’s boxes to put her ashes, in. That is what she wanted.
Her dearest brother-in-law, seriously, all of northern Indiana wished you would have just listened to your father and said “yes” to staying for the funeral. Anita loved nothing more than being surrounded by her family. Not to mention your Dad wanted you there as well. Holy Crap!!!! Abuelo and Nita!!!!!!! Those two in cahoots with each other!!!!!!! Apocalypse now!!!!! Obviously…… seriously…..really, white out conditions!!!!!!!!!! When it was time to put to rest the body that had housed her spirit, there you stood with your brother– her husband and her son. Just as she wanted it.
Brother Michael, thank you for listening. I can think of a brother or two who could learn from your listening example. Knowing that you were there with John and would be there with John, you made my heart breaking job easier. May God bless you and keep you and cause His mercy to shine upon you. Hmmm, yes, we should all take a moment and learn this lesson to just be still and listen…. Because, in the mean time…..
…this blizzard was raging, DID I MENTION THE WHITE OUT CONDITIONS and as we got closer to the time for going to the church, the worse it got. Holy Crap!!! Yes, I know I have said that but it bears repeating. Holy Crap!!!! However, after the celebration of her life, when we escorted her body to the hearse, the clouds had parted and the sun was shinning and all that impossible snow had melted off the cars…ta-da!!!! Made to order.
The sun(son) shinning on all that white, pure snow (our spirits) reminded me of how our spirits appear. Gazing out at all the brilliant, crystal brightness, at times it made my eyes hurt. The symbolism was not lost on me. We know that Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus in a blinding light…that God’s glory is so great that we, as humans, can not look on Him.
That snow covered parking lot was a great big reminder of home and of who we are, of what we look like without this human body. Of what Nita looks like now.
Okay, all right, I can hear those of you out there going blah, blah, blah, coincidence.
Well, that may be possible, all though I do not believe in coincidence and that word does not exist in my vocabulary….
…..have you ever been cruising through/ around D.C. on a Sunday night at around six p.m. No, really…..if you had then you would know that there is no cruising going on…on the belt ways and interstates that connect our Nation’s Capital to the rest of this great and glorious nation, you are at gird lock somewhere…perhaps moving slowly, bumper to bumper everywhere else. Possibly stopped, with you engine turned off.
Wellllllll, when we drove through our Nation’s Capital, there was no traffic. Hmmmm, me thinks me smells divine intervention.
I started noticing the lack of vehicles as we left Indiana. Cool, I thought as we got into Ohio, we are making good time… on the PA toll road…still no traffic. Okay, very cool, I am thinking, this will help for the time we’ll lose once we get closer in. Hmmmm, now we are in Maryland and still nothing to note ….okay, the beltway will not disappoint me…wow! no traffic as we came around the belt way….okay Tyson’s Corner coming up…..wow!!! Still no traffic. Still no slow down. And on home we zipped!!!!!! Holy Crap!!!!!!! Who believes that is a miracle! Yes, thank you, I see that hand.
I live my live in the obvious ways that God speaks to me. Sometimes a stop sign is just that…STOP! Beating yourself up or thinking ugly thoughts or…the list goes on. That when the dog wants out, perhaps I need to be out in the fresh air, as well. Once or twice there has been an audible “D!”! as I was unknowingly stepping into danger. It is not that God no longer speaks to us, it is simply that we no longer listen. That if you expect to hear your Father’s voice, you will. (Editor’s note: see that part about “angels in the architecture” and burning witches at the stake.) That in this human condition, you should be as kind as you can at the possible given moment. For indeed, angels walk among us. And I have been privileged to meet one or two. Now we have one that looks on us as her own. She has her wings and she is here with us. Smiljka, if you thought she was something before, you should see our sister now.
All the while I was writing this, my tears fell until I thought, surely, I can not have any more. And now I am laughing. And so in her honor I now proudly put my four letter identifier on my business card as four is the number of creation.
“I knew it!” she chuckled when she read the scores of my MBTI, as we sat having our tea that afternoon in London, “I knew you were a high F.” And of course, she was right.