Two words sum it all up for me when I remember Mary Kent. Smile and Spirit.
Mary Kent had, for me, the kind of smile that says, "Hey, you can't fool me....I know what you're thinking...." And since I felt close to Mary and often shared myself with her, she usually WOULD know what I was thinking. But I always had this feeling that Mary might have intuitively known what I was thinking--even if she hadn't known me. She could make me laugh without saying one word. All she had to do was grin at me. It was uncanny. I probably laughed with her the first day we talked.
Mary was a person I might describe as a free spirit. She didn't worry much about grades or friends or boys or especially what people thought of her. She certainly didn't need to worry about her looks because she was knock-us-dead gorgeous without even trying. Mary had that natural kind of beauty that most of us would kill for--no makeup, no need to roll (or even brush!) the hair--she was model material in the raw. Blonde, thin, long legs, and long on beauty.
But it was her smile that drew me. She would look at me with that smile, that know-it-all mischievous look. For me, a super-achieving anxiety-driven student, that look meant--"Oh, drop the seriousness, Susan--you know how to have fun!" And she usually enticed me to do just that. I appreciated her because she brought out the fun side of me, and she did it all with a twinkle in her eye and a smile.
Mary had a sweet spirit and a fun spirit. I guess I have comforted myself with the idea that she probably had more fun than any of us in her short life span of 48 years. I was always envious of her ability to let go, to be free, and to have fun. So to know that she lost her life when she was out in California partying it up makes me feel slightly better.
I think Mary is still free. I think Mary is at peace. And I even like to think she is happy where she is.
But I am sad that I've lost the opportunity to catch that crazy smile. I will miss that.
I have a sneaky feeling she might be looking at me now, though, enticing me with her warmth, her beauty, her spirit--to enjoy my life while I have it. Thank you, Mary.