I'll never forget Julie Batty. I was in this study hall my sophomore year in high school, where I got stuck sitting pretty far up front. We had this ridiculous physics teacher for a study hall babysitter, so it was pretty fun. At one point that year I sat right behind Julie Batty (pronounced "bait EE"; name not changed to protect the eloquent), who was a senior at the time. She was mysteriously attractive. Her entire family was that way; she had a younger sister (perhaps not named) Christine. They were both cute, and considered hot by most of the school or whatever, but they also both had shady backgrounds and like weird eyes. I don't know. Hard to describe. I liked them both, but memories of Julie Batty definitely stick.

Anyways, this isn't about Julie Batty being hot. It's about the music that she introduced me to. Jim King from Hoffman Estates urged me and Russell into loving grunge and all that shit in the early early 90s and we were into it all hardcore. Russell shifted to punk, and I shifted to electronic noise, but I still kept the interest in the grungish kinda shit. I just like the abstract lyrics and the whole philosophy of rocking out (which was basically made up to make the media shut up during the whole grunge fiasco in Seattle). I don't know. So Julie Batty really wanted to borrow my Bleach (Nirvana) CD. I didn't want to let her. I honestly just didn't trust her.

Our relationship existed entirely of the strange universal void of that study hall. We never met outside, and that was just fine. We had a strange connection there, as well. We started talking one day while one of my sketchbooks (which were at times infamous at the school) was floating around the study hall and she noticed it. She showed me some of her own drawing, and it was friendship. We had art in common. I didn't care that she was basically a drunk drug addict in cheerleader's clothing that was exceptionally tall, and she didn't care that I was a silent-from-social-damage prude dork artist weird person freaky guy. We only saw each other's art (there was physical attraction both ways, but it wasn't important), and I find it still to be one of the most interesting and important friendships I've ever had.

Her art was incredible. The deal was that the art talent crowd at my high school was basically non-existent. There was me, pharmacopedian, Russell, Mike Stevens, and a select few others at any point in time. The art that was good was always stemmed from the restrictions of the small town, and it always came from people that you knew needed to not be in Taylorville. Her art was drug-induced, and created some of my first ideas of anti-drug art sentiment, but also created some of my acceptances of drug art (yes, I'll call it that. False mental state). It was, for lack of better word, trippy; however, it wasn't trippy in that rainbow colorful sense of the word, nor really any stereotypical 60s sense. It was usually black and white, and always very deeply emotional. Her art showed me things I would not have normally realized or thought of, and I had great respect for that; I haven't seen anything like it since. She also dabbled in typography, or more appropriately put, she would write out song lyrics in this absolutely perfect font, depending on what the song was or was about. I am lucky enough to still have a page on which she drew out the lyrics "All Apologies" (Nirvana again). It is truly a beautiful page (actually a half page; the top half is missing a bit, but all of what she did is still there), and one of maybe three times I have ever let anyone draw in my sketchbook (the only other person I can think of right off hand is my cousin Shawn).

I have realized in recent years that without the restrictions I had in high school holding me down I haven't created things in the same sense. I no longer draw; that would not only disappoint many, many people from Taylorville, it would make them mad. I hate that I no longer draw. It hurts me every time I think of it, and when I try to draw again I am only discouraged by the lack of ability from lack of practice over the years. I can now only draw the things I focused on in the past.

What brought this whole thoughtstream into being was my discovery of one of my old CD books. I had it like hidden in the living room still from one of my parties, and I was looking for my old Foo Fighters CD, and instead found this old book. I listened to the Pixies.

I eventually let Julie Batty borrow the Bleach CD, but I told her that I had to have collateral, because I didn't quite trust her. She brought the Pixies' Surfer Rosa one day, and we traded. At first I didn't like it, but it grew on fast. I became very attached to her and the CD, and it still reminds me of her. It represents everything she ever said, did, drew, or felt. Strange connection we had.

I miss those days of non-regulated study hall, drawing, and connecting with who I thought was a heroin-addicted ho. I feel bad saying those things, because I never knew. I thought (and heard, but that means nothing) that she had done acid, smoked pot, and even dabbled in opiates and other straight-up narcotics, but never knew. She was very hardcore for our school and area especially, what with the usual drugs being pot and High Life 30 packs.

I miss her. I would like to see her again. I ran into her a couple years ago. I knew that she had moved to New York to be a model, and when I ran into her she looked almost as good as ever. Her hair was ass, but otherwise she was fine. Her eyes had not-so-safe looking bags under them, but that was not a big surprise for some reason. We always had a very exclusive relationship; it was very one on one. Her boyfriend (or maybe just some weird guy) was with her, so it was an awkward meeting. I didn't really get to ask her anything or talk to her at length, because that guy was there and it was the entrance of Wal-Mart, and those aren't exactly the requirements for reminiscing.

I wish we could've met somewhere better; when I think of it now, the Pick Me Up Cafe here in Chicago at 3:30a would be perfect. Ideally, we would catch up entirely. We'd be there for two days; everything would be covered.

When I look back at my past friends like Julie Batty, I can only hope for the best. Because of most of my old friends' shady pasts and backgrounds, I never had much in the way of confidence in the future for them. I felt bad about it, but it was how I felt.

The note she left in Bleach when she gave it back to me (months later) is still in the case. She thanks me for being a music library and says something about keeping up the art and not to forget her.

I'll never forget...