Introduction to Memories of J (8/14, 10:16 EST):
Before you read this, you ought to know that this node incorrectly assumes that my college friend J is dead.
Fortunately, she is still very much alive--when I searched for her obituary this evening, I discovered that the alumni association was just plain wrong (not the first time, sadly enough). Sorry to say, I trusted the alumni association to keep their facts straight, and they didn't.
I have sought advice from the Powers That Be on my mistake and was told that a note to the reader would suffice. This node still means a lot to me, so hopefully you can think of Five Memories of J as an early morning monument to a massive crush. *wistful smile*
Five Memories of J
It's 4 AM EST and Big Star's "Holocaust" is playing quietly in my little room. Last night, just before I went to bed, I found out from the university alumni association that J had died a few years ago. She was a fellow English major, an old college friend of mine, and one of my very own femme fatales.
Unfortunately, I was shocked, saddened, but not necessarily surprised when I found out about her death. Like many femme fatales, J always gave this unstable tilt-a-wheel vibe and always seemed in perpetual peril.
But when J was happy, you knew-it--her smile could light up a three-story building. And she was absolutely knock-down beautiful in a Roaring Twenties kind of way--she might've given Clara Bow (also known as the It Girl) a run for her money.
Five old college memories of J:
When I first met her, J was working at the college shuttle service. The service had its HQ in my dorm building, so she was hanging around with nothing to do. We ended up chatting, and for the life of me I don't remember what we were talking about, because at one point she looked deep in my eyes and kissed me. I was so startled that I couldn't speak.
Watching girls with J during her bisexual phase. This was amazingly great--one day she looked at a cute girl and said "hey, nice tits!". I smiled, nodded, and said "yeah." It was priceless and I've told that story a hundred times. At that moment, I realized that lesbians and I had something in common--we both liked girls!
Talking with her in the college pub about one of her love affairs, which, of course, always seemed to go wrong. I remember the smoke from her cigarette spiraling up into the air as she bitterly recounted yet another lover's offenses. For some reason, her words felt very inspiring and I tried to write a short story about the incident (changing her name to Ilya for an exotic faux-noir feel), but the story was a dismal failure and I never got past the first few paragraphs.
I took a total of ten photos in college and J was in one of them. She's in the quad, faroff in the distance, far away on the right. She was wearing a red dress and her hair was some terrible shade of green--guess she didn't want to get a closeup of the terrible dye job. In this photo she is smiling a close-lipped smile, as if she'd rather be somewere else.
Sometimes the truth is very strange and too melodramatic.
On the very last day I was in college, I ran into her and we chatted for a bit. It turned out that she had been dating some guy who had pissed her off. So she was planning to break it off that day and she was wearing a transparent black bustier underneath her shirt. "Yeah, I want to show him what he's missing!," J explained.
She opened up her shirt and showed me. I took her hand and within seconds, we ran into an empty classroom and began making out like bandits. But our thrashy little bit-o-passion didn't last long, as you might've guessed. She had to go to an English magazine meeting and my mom was waiting--I was moving out and onward.
The End of Memories
So it's now 5 AM and Big Star's "Nature Boy"--what a stupid cover tune!--is on once again. I really must sleep. I guess, in the end, I loved her. I loved J very deeply in that peculiarly hopeless way that only belongs to addicts of unrequited love. Frankly, I can only hope that I never love that way again, but she was extraordinarily smart, generally wonderful, and at least I had the privilege of knowing her.
So good night, sleep tight.