Everyone felt like a dear friend
A memoriam by Jessica Levy
How can one possibly begin to even try to describe the beautifully wild and enigmatic Rebecca Dowling? She evades convention and defies everyday vocabulary. Multifaceted and talented, she poses a challenge for the English language. How can one begin to describe all of the many Rebeccaisms that created her specific brand of unique?
Where to begin?
Night one: when we first met.
You almost got lost on your way out to meet us.
I remember feeling like I had known you for way longer than I actually had, like I was reuniting with an old friend, and I knew in those first few hours that I needed and wanted to spend an excessive amount of time with you. You were captivating in the ease in which you interacted with a room full of people you had just met. In how open and friendly you were. Genuinely interested in getting to know each and every one of us. Finding pinpoint moments of connection, something in common with everyone, sewing together the group bit by bit, until when you left, we all felt the pull to find you again.
That’s what you always did - somehow sew the corners of the earth together.
Our first-night going “out-out”:
I didn’t know what to expect from the evening. I arrived at the apartment with slight trepidation; it’s always a little nerve-wracking to go out with a new group of girls. I remember sipping my drink while everyone got ready. Saying yes and no to outfit choices, getting our hair braided, slicking it all back, and adding some sparkles. Then a song came on. I wish I could remember what song, it was as if you and I were sucked into an alternate universe light-years away from the living room. Amidst everyone we started dancing like idiots, I mean really, like idiots. Flailing limbs, intense gyrating, pulling weird faces, raised eyebrows, fists pumping – and it was as if there was instant recognition – this girl is just as weird as I am. Sporadically throughout that whole first night, a certain beat would hit, the lighting would change, or one of us would catch the other’s eye – and we would be off.
From that first night on my appetite for our friendship was insatiable. Though now I realize that everyone felt this way about you. These moments, these deeply connected and soul-filled moments that I believed were so unique to our friendship – you had with people all over the world. You were capable of making everyone feel like a dear friend, and you were somehow always able to remember the little insides that you had with each and every one of us.
It takes a truly special person to move away from all comfortable things and to immerse themselves into a world of the unknown. You did this time and time again. You continually chose discomfort in an effort to grow. It was as if you craved the challenge, the thrill of meeting new people, listening and learning, collecting stories, dreaming up new adventures – you always said yes.
You were the embodiment of a free spirit, and a free spirit doesn’t do well with restraint. It was this that spoke to the free spirit enclosed in all of our hearts. It was this that knocked on our doors and beckoned us to come out and play. It was your free spirit that inspired all of us to dream, to say yes, to laugh, do the weird dance moves, and to make the change.
And now, here we are.
It’s hard to not get fixated on trying to grasp at time, somehow hold it in place so as not to lose it. The time fossilized in moments, when everything shone with the lightness of possibility. Incredible moments, still-shining in the past like bits of sparkling amber. I want to grab these moments, and pull them back into the now so that we can bask in the liquid sunshine of their present:
The never-ending heat waves and the stinking garbage. The nights turned into mornings, the scars on my body from the nights I couldn’t keep up with the Irish. Dancing through the streets, through the slick, sweat, and smog, and dreaming about how long we could sustain the magic of it all.
We’re going to reach out and grab these moments; string them like beads onto a necklace impervious to the wear of time. One that will continue to shine light in remembrance of you. One that will bring you back to us whenever we need you the most.
Here, there, and everywhere. We love you Becs.
We met Jessica Levy in Bangkok through a friend of a friend of Jen Sutcliffe. Her energy and good nature made her and Rebecca a natural fit. So much so they were often found curled up at 10am on a Sunday morning, sleeping off the previous evenings dancing feet.