I only had a roommate once—not counting a sister, a boyfriend, and husbands. We roomed together in college, half of junior year and half of senior year. Spring semester of our junior year, I was in France. Fall semester of our senior year, she was in Taiwan.

She came back from Taiwan with a ring: a pyramid of rubies. I couldn’t believe the glamour of that ring. So large. So red. So shiny. Not at all a Midwestern type of ring during the 60s.

Senior year we had a suite. I remember going into her room one morning. She had just taken a shower and was slathering her whole body with lotion. Wow, I thought, why is she doing that? I never did that.

We talked about everything in those days: in the same room, or chatting from her room to mine. What’s everything? Wherever our thoughts took us, I guess. She is very chatty. I like that because I’m not particularly chatty.

But here’s the amazing thing. Spending ten hours with her in Chicago last week, so many years later, I found that nothing has essentially changed. We talked about husbands, children, aging, life, death, and, yes, jewels, or lack thereof. We didn’t talk about skin, but I noticed that the slathering of lotion over 40+ years makes a difference. I came to know once again what I already knew: once a roommate, always a roommate.