A woman died, an acquaintance. She was deep in the clutches of dementia when I saw her last, but the thing that she retained was her sense of style and her youthful appearance. She was beautiful, and cultivated, but she did not know me when I spoke to her, and I could tell that my greeting had frightened her, although she tried to make her greeting as warm as mine had been.
The thing is, I have known this woman from my teenage years, on and off. I mean I moved from this place for 20+ years, and came back, and there she was, as unchanged as if she had a mirror hidden away in her attic, her hair dark and carefully arranged. She was a careful dresser, and had impeccable manners, but she did not age.
Turns out that she took great pride in this. When she was hospitalized for serious illness and my mother had gone to visit her, my mother had seen her age posted. The woman was mortified, and swore her to secrecy, made her promise several times that she would not tell anyone. When this was related to me, I took it for a joke, really, and did not think much about it, even though my mother seemed certain that she wasn't joking at all, that she wanted no one to know her age.
Until now. She is gone, and there was no obituary in the paper, just a funeral notice.
The thing is, she was a prominent figure in many arenas. She had a fascinating life, really, coming here during the second world war as a military bride. She was beautiful and smart, and a faith filled woman. Inspiring. But she has passed from this life, taking her secret with her.