Over the weekend, Higgins passed away. I could kind of see it coming, though it was hard to discern whether he was truly on the wane or proceeding through life in his usual, delicate manner.
With Higgins, I never had to worry about calls home from school: Come get your mantis, Ms. Tollipop. He pushed his way in line.
Or: Come get your mantis, Ms. Tollipop. He just said a bad word.
No, with Higgins, it was all calm seas and smooth sailing. Not a cloud on the horizon.
Except for the fact he didn't particularly care for my company...but that is a trifling concern! Hardly worth the mention! I was never one to foist myself upon his presence, mind you, unless you count my penchant for dropping in unannounced whenever I found myself in the vicinity of his pied-à-terre, even though he expressly stated his wish for me to make other arrangements.
When I asked what he meant by "other arrangements", he made a face as if I'd squeezed too much lemon in his tea and muttered something beneath his breath which I could not distinctly verify, though it sounded very much along the lines of: Go away. I don't like you.
But these are not the moments to dwell upon when recalling one's rich association with a dearly departed friend! Nor should we summon the memories wherein he flinched from my touch or raised his forearms in that classic mantis threat pose which is typically interpreted to mean: get lost, but I determined to take in good humor.
He was, after all, a sophisticate in the most extreme sense of the word. So I could never be sure whether he genuinely loathed me or if he was merely being sarcastic, wherein telling someone you can't stand her is actually a very complicated way of expressing hidden admiration.
Deeply hidden admiration.
Never let it be said I failed to give Higgins every benefit of the doubt!