Julie and I met in junior high. In fact, she, Heather, and myself sort of ran in the same circles. Julie was in my band class and she played the drums. I played the clarinet. I was the cliche. Most girls played the flute or the clarinet in our band class, but Julie stood out. She was the cool chick who chose percussion. She was immediately awesome in my eyes. Which is not to say that clarinet and flute players aren’t cool. I mean, we were all band geeks. And band geeks? to me? Are ALL super cool.
When we got to high school, we began to hang out more and get to know each other better. When Heather moved away to Ohio, I was so sad and so was Julie. This brought us closer together. Then Julie herself switched schools which made me even more lonely. Lucky for me, (or unlucky as I would find out later) I had a boyfriend who took up a lot of my time. Julie came to her senses and switched back to our high school and I wasn’t about to let her go again.
We became inseparable whenever I could get away from my boyfriend. I was in a destructive relationship. The boyfriend didn’t like any of my friends. In fact, he didn’t like the fact that I had friends at all. Julie, amazingly, hung in there though. (then again, the psycho didn’t go talking shit about me like he did to my Heather, what a prick!) She knew I was unhappy but also blind-sided by this twisted love. She was patient. She and I would sneak away to do things on the weekend when I could come up with a lie to tell the boyfriend. She never judged me, at least not vocally. She never lectured me either. She knew I’d leave when I had enough and I tried not to complain to her about my relationship woes too.
Julie and I developed a “lingo” between us that drove the said boyfriend crazy. Things like “Duh-rear”, “Let’s go Lay Espanol”, “They got the best biscuits and gravy”. People would give us weird looks but we didn’t care. We knew what it meant and thought it was funny…and frankly still do. Seriously. Eating Chick Fil-A at the food court at the mall when I’m home? One of us can just say it and we still nearly piss ourselves.
After I dumped the boyfriend, Julie and I were joined at the hip, she drove me to school everyday and drove me home. We did the silly things that high school girls do. We bought matching outfits and wore them to school. We got similar hair styles. We were the “Romy and Michelle” of 1992.
Most importantly, we leaned on each other a lot.
I went off to college and Julie and I each grew up and moved on with our lives. She got married. I got married. She had a kid. I moved away. We went five years without seeing each other at one time but we talked at least once a year and we always picked up right up where we left off.
Julie has been through more than one person should have to endure in a lifetime. Things I don’t want to tell you all because I respect her privacy. But let me tell you…the girl’s been through it.
And yet. When I came home last year for vacation, she still made me smile and laugh until my sides hurt, she’s still bubbly and upbeat, she still puts up that stoic front. But at the same time, she KNOWS I want to know her truth and she tells me. And I give her my undying support and love. No matter her choices. I will always be in her corner and she knows it.
And we still say that if we ever decide to “play for the other team”, we’ll totally run off and get married.
When I’m home in NC, I always have a “Julie” day. I’ll go to pick her up at work and say hi to her boss (She is a nurse and the doctor she works for was my own doctor from the time I was 5 weeks old until I graduated high school) and co-workers, we go have lunch and just hang out, mainly we catch up with each other, and leave each other trying not to well up with tears.
I’ll do the same thing when I’m home in February and I can’t wait to see her again. She’s had a “transforming” year. She’s battled a lot this past year too and has come out fighting and just as strong. Girlfriend is getting a big margarita this time around, whether she likes it or not.