Shared Memories: Tim Moerman

I heard of Caia Miller long before I met her. At Emily Carr Middle School in grade seven, I learned that I'd gotten the second-highest score in the school on the math aptitude tests, right behind some girl named Caia Miller. My initial reaction was "What kind of name is Caia?" I'd never met any other Caias and still haven't. The next year we were in Grade Nine math together but I only really got to know her in high school.

I remember that Caia was kind, but that she did not suffer fools gladly. People with the former quality are easy to love, those with the latter are easy to respect, but you don't always find both in the same person.

I remember one class in Grade 9 where the teacher was making a whole series of insensitive, rude and sexist remarks. This guy was really out of line--I believe at one point he actually called her, or one of the other girls, "chickie." Anyway, Caia stood up and with a confidence and articulateness not normally found in fourteen-year-olds, proceeded to tear the teacher a new hole. The poor bastard just had no idea what he was getting into.

I remember she had the kind of keen, inborn sense of outrage-in-the-face-of-wrongness, the kind that doesn't go away and that keeps you firmly on the side of the angels, even years later when life and disappointment and ugly compromise have driven the lesser of us to just roll over and go along with the latest abomination du jour.

I remember that she had a huge crush on Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson and was devastated when he lost his gold medal for using steroids.

I didn't see Caia again after high school, but I had no doubt that she would go on to do great things. I looked forward to seeing her again at some reunion twenty, thirty years hence. When you're eighteen, you know you have decades to get back in touch. As any fool can tell you.