As a sort of writing practice, I started to write memoirs of people that I once knew. People who for one thing or another have affected my life in a way, or many ways. People who have passed on, but whose memory has kept with me throughout the years, and has helped me get through some difficult and interesting times. This is the first of the many pieces that I found myself scribbling into my journal one afternoon. I needed a chance to let the writer's compost build. I needed to let go of some tears. This is for you, Jules.
The first time it hit me that I had lost Jules was a week after her funeral. Even after I had seen her open casket where I cried hysterically and stared disbelief at the body lying there that everyone kept telling me was my best friend, even after the two hour funeral in the church where I sat in the back pews in my pink dress because Jules had said that she wanted everyone to celebrate her in style, even after the reception at her parents' house where her mother had created picture posters of Jules with a few dozen of them being with me in them... I was still in disbelief. It still hadn't set in.
Until one day, a week later, I was walking through the parking lot of the mall and heard Jules' favorite song blaring in the near distance.
I turned to see a guy driving around the parking lot in his white Honda Civic, windows rolled down, and singing his lungs out.
"Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes...five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear..."
And I broke down in tears.
RENT was her anthem. She ran out to buy the soundtrack the week it came out, and would walk around the school hallways with a CD-player in one hand, both earphones clasped around her earlobes, and reciting the words from "Over The Moon" with such precision and emotion you would have thought they made the part of Maureen for her.
She had become my Maureen. The crazy, sexy, amazing, alluring, intimidating 5'2" powerhouse that was Julia made me feel like anything I did was the greatest shit since sliced bread. My first day of school there, I felt completely out of place. I was one of two or three kids that were homeschooled for most of their middle school years stepping into the most insane, liberal-arts public high school in Baltimore County.
Everyone who came to Carver knew everyone who was already at Carver. That was mostly because Carver was one of those high schools where they were bound to choose middle schoolers that had attended other liberal-arts schools such as Deer Park, Loch Raven Academy or the infamous Sudbrook.
To the freshman students who arrived, the teachers they were going to be assigned to for their primes were legendary. To me, they were some of the wackiest teachers I had ever met in my entire life.
Jules was an alumni of Sudbrook. She, of course, had studied Theatre and Vocal Arts there. She had a voice on her that could project for miles. To this day, I blame my ability to be loud and obnoxious on her. When she met me, I was a timid, quiet Asian girl who wore jeans with pen spots splattered over them and tattered t-shirts to achieve the "artistic look".
Everyone thought Jules and I made the oddest pair as friends. She, the Sudbrook-attending, outgoing, insane theatre student, and me, the introverted, nervous, literary arts student with my head stuck between the pages of my journal 99% of the time. But the friendship worked. And Julia made me realize that life was too short, too alive, too raw, too beautiful to miss out on. We would stay on the phone for hours, reciting lines from upcoming Broadway productions; me listening to her new monologue for Theatre 1 class and her listening to my new sestina for Intro to Lit Arts.
Her bright spirit became something I will never forget. From her stealing "hamster burgers" from the cafeteria to jumping on top of her seat in the auditorium after I finished my hip hop dance for the Black History Month assembly to skipping class and walking to the mall to buy "movie star shades" - Jules was, and will always be my star.