There are people who help you along your journey in life that you’ll never forget. Along the way, you find people who understand you inside and out, who challenge you to realize your full potential, who make you understand things about yourself you may never have realized.
Robin was one of these people. She was also a journalism student at the University of Maryland. She was hilarious. You couldn’t be in her presence without being entranced by her energy. She was also one of the most phenomenal writers I’ve ever known. She was my best friend in the whole world. She became part of my family. She looked more like my little sister than I did. She came to all of my family events after her mom moved to North Carolina. I connected her to her very first job, and introduced her to her college boyfriend. I could tell her anything without her passing judgment. She always wanted the best for me, even after we lost touch.
She was my college roommate, and my very first roommate in Manhattan. Our first year living on our own in New York was challenging – she was messy and emotional and I was anal about cleanliness and uncomfortable dealing with emotions – mine or anyone else’s. Through the challenges, we had some amazing memories of that first year in the city. We sat on our couch in our tiny apartment watching America’s Next Top Model and binging on junk food. We spent Thursday nights going to local bars in our neighborhood and singing the theme song to Winnie the Pooh on our way home. In college, we wanted to open up a new restaurant chain next to the Potbelly’s in College Park called “Fatbelly’s – we’re fatter than you.” I have lots of memories with Robin through college and afterwards, but these are the memories that were shared only between the two of us. And now that she’s not around, I need to cling to these memories because I’m the only one in the living world that can preserve them.
Robin died earlier this year. She was 25. She was engaged.
I wasn’t part of Robin’s life during her last year on earth, but we still talked every once in awhile and I always had updates on her life through mutual friends. Her death shook us all. To know that we could lose someone so quickly sent us all into shock. Now, I see her every day. She is walking down the street in Manhattan; she is sitting on the plane next to me. I close my eyes and she is rolling around on our couch on the Upper East side, laughing hysterically. She is curling up with me in my bed, watching a movie late at night. She is gushing about her first day at Conde Nast and her encounters with Anna Wintour in the elevator. She is pulling clothes out of my closet, dressing me in outfits I never would have thought to put together. She is letting me cry to her about something trivial.
Today is Robin’s birthday. I stare at the picture of us from the day we moved into our very first apartment, and I hope that wherever she is, she knows how much she meant to me.
Also, check out Don’s tribute to Robin