Maya Humes

I️ called Mal Malpal, but she of course had a never-ending list of nicknames for me - Mizzle, Missoula Humes, M, and M dawg to name a few. Her brain was this brilliant, sometimes baffling masterpiece, and her nicknames were just one beautiful part of that. There were countless Mallory sayings - two of my favorites were “We are the sexy MaMaMas”, for "Mallory, Maya, and Makiko" when we were roommates sophomore year, and “bedtime for bonzo”, which was what Mal would say when it was time to go to sleep.

Mal was a weirdo, but the weird parts of us were the same. We were both clumsy, we loved belting out the Rent soundtrack in the dorm showers, and we were veryyy gullible. Well, some people call it gullible, I like to think of it as optimistic. We would essentially believe anything people told us - no matter what. Instantly just so wide-eyed and excited.

We instantly became best friends when we became roommates. And one of our favorite memories was the night Mal tried weed brownies.You could always count on Mal to be adventurous, so when she knew our neighbor Andrew had some special brownies, she wanted a lil taste.But, after a few hours, she wasn’t feeling anything.

So, she asked him for another taste. He was like: “Okayyy, but I thinkkk it might hit you soon”. Mal was like: “No, no, I don’t feel anything.” So he succumbed, and gave her more.

And then she said she still wasn’t feeling it, so he gave her even more. Pretty soon, you guessed it, Mal was FEELING it. REALLLYYY feeling it.

So much so that Mal’s uncle Danny was called to the dorm by Diane and Mark to sit by her bed as she felt the effects. I remember being super grateful for Danny. I had only been high once, resulting in a veryyy similar, displeased parent experience, so I was no trustworthy watchdog.

Eventually, Mal of course came down from the high, but she neverrr lived that night down. It showed how she would just run full throttle at experiences, take them in, no holds barred, no looking back.

That’s the thing - Mal approached EVERY single thing she did wholeheartedly - especially her friendships. Even when we weren’t in the same city anymore, she was always SO excited to dig into the lives of the people she loved. It was always “Okay, I’m gonna quickly answer this question about me, but how was the date with that boy? Or, send me a photo of you guys hanging out!, or, How was the Misterwives concert last night”?. She was a compassionate, excitable listener, and you always wanted to share the best news with her.

She was also SO expressive, so often texting wasn’t enough. It was best to see those classic Mal facial reactions live. You know what I’m talking about: the confused one, the shocked one, the giddy one. But then Mal was also courageous in her candor. She knew how to talk you through the hard decisions, delicately, and with a wisdom that far surpassed our years. Her follow-up questions would hit you DEEP.

I’m gonna miss those follow-up questions. I’m gonna miss those facial expressions. I’m gonna miss having a partner in crime just as gullible as me. But I feel so, so lucky to have had those moments with her, and I will never, ever, ever forget them. I love you so much, Malpal.  


The diaries of Mallory Smith, a remarkable young woman who was determined to live a meaningful and happy life despite her struggle with cystic fibrosis and a rare superbug—from age fifteen to her death at the age of twenty-five.

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