Sunday, June 30, 2013

LCC water bottle.

I've recently started using my LCC water bottle. It's from the Lapu the Coyote that Cares Theatre Company at UCLA. You can visit their website here. Rachelle was greatly invested in this company, and a lot of her skills and talents were showcased within this company, her writing, her acting, her improv skills, and sometimes her dancing.

I got the water bottle at the last show I saw Rachelle in, it's blue and has the LCC logo, and I thought I'd support artists who'd been so incredibly loving to Rachelle. It was also slightly spontaneous...what can I say? I like markers of good days.

And now, although it's still not my favorite water bottle, it's the one I use. This is mainly because I lost my awesome orange one, and I need to drink water. It's summer in Fresno...

But I've had people ask me about it. If I know that the LCC logo looks similar to the Turkish flag, they ask if I did theater... on Thursday, I had to explain where I got it, that it was in support of a friend. The last thing I remember saying was, "She was incredible, so I supported her."

I doubt anyone realized that I said 'was' or that I was referring to someone who is dead. But the sentence, that word stayed in my mouth. Was.

It's getting easier to use the past tense when talking about Rachelle. Not because I've forgotten or am letting her go, but because the memories I have of her are in the past. I don't have any future ones to look forward to just yet.

I hold onto my LCC water bottle, and think of her often. Twirling in that skirt that she didn't want to be wearing in that last musical number, or wearing all that make-up... but hey, she looked cute.

Friends couldn't resist photo-bombing this moment.

Friday, June 14, 2013

"Go back!"

One of the last times I saw Rachelle was at Gushi. It was right around this time, folks were graduating, celebratory meals were being had, and I'd recently come back from a conference where I had kind of an awkward DTR (defining the relationship conversation).

I was with The Twin, and Earl. Earl and I had had a great reunion hug. A long one. We knew Rachelle was going to be a little late, so we ordered. And then we started eating without her. As time went on, we wondered what was taking so long...

She eventually arrived, in her car! She'd been feeling kind of sick, and she decided to drive. From there, hilarity ensued. We played various songs, "Call Me Maybe" one of which was "I Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele, my favorite was the chipmunk version. But nothing could be compared to watching Rachelle slap Earl across the face as the phrase, 'as I touch your face' in Adele's song. Hilarious!

The next was, as we watched graduates walking back to the apartments or dorms, Earl saying he'd like to approach them, saying: "Do you know hunger? No? Go back!!!" The Twin and I laughed 'cause we'd been in tight financial situations after graduation. Rachelle laughed 'cause, let's face it, it's pretty funny.

We ended the night full, with our leftovers in Rachelle's fridge. Lucky duck. I went to my friend's place content and happy. As times with Rachelle usually were.

Monday, June 10, 2013

That Day.

My very best friend, Earl, called me with the news that day. I answered, joyful that he'd called, but also wondering why he'd done so (we're more of a texting sort). As soon as I said a chipper 'hello' and heard his hesitation, I knew something was wrong. I waited.

As he told me that Rachelle was dead, it was physically hard to breathe. My mind was racing, 
 What does he mean?
 Is he sure it's Rachelle? 
Are they sure there's absolutely nothing that can be done?

About 15 seconds after that, it began to sink in. Earl wouldn't tell me this without being absolutely sure. My voice began to shake as I told Earl "I love you" among other words that don't matter. Words I don't remember. Words that attempted to fill the space between us, and share the grief. The pain. 

I thank God I wasn't alone. I was with my dear friend, Mariah. We prayed. I prayed for Rachelle's family, for her friends, for me. I wasn't sure how I was going to make it off the couch. It felt as though I was in a really bad dream and need to wake up. Yet I saw Mariah across from me, her eyes lovingly holding mine, and her hand clutching mine. I was not alone.

And then the greatest thing happened: I envisioned Rachelle with an awesome haircut (think short mohawk) dancing her crazy way with Jesus. She was laughing, smiling, and having a ball. I laughed and uttered a sentence that would soothe my soul ever since, "She's dancing with Jesus."

I couldn't help but be a little jealous.


Pretty much anytime I say, "Get it!" I think of Rachelle. Often, it's because I get looks from folks who don't understand why I'm saying it, and I sorely miss her.

Rachelle would often say it while watching folks play basketball, while cheering someone on to take the shot, or dominate as they block. Other times was when someone was doing something epic or stupid. Or stupidly epic, like one-biting a brownie or pulling a prank on someone.

My favorite instances of hearing Rachelle yell "GET IT, GET IT" were when Rachelle would yell this at a couple. Particularly a shy couple. They'd be talking, or getting close to show some PDA (public display of affection), only to have Rachelle fully put them on blast and embarrass them by shouting, "GET IT!"

I'm smiling as I type this, 'cause Rachelle was such an instigator. If I were to mention any of my brushes with dating, I'd be hearing, "GET IT!"

It's Time.

It's been ten months since Rachelle decided to take her own life. There are still a lot of questions, lack of answers, and emotion that choose to make their own entrance every now and again... but I thought it was time to create space to share the memories and love.

Rachelle was one of my greatest friends. The one who made sure I knew just how much she loved me, and who knew just how much I loved her. She was the one who was not at all shy to yell across a room (or a quad, or a semi-quiet building) to make sure you knew she saw you. She made you feel special like that.

Rachelle knew how to tug at my heart strings. She knew I was a sucker for good food, music, and dance. And, you know it, she made it a point to do some (or all!) of those things with me when we hung out. Great food, strumming some guitar, and awkward dance moves always made for a party with Rachelle.

I loved her then, I love her now, and I miss her more than I can ever put into words. Thanks for sharing her memory with me through this blog.

More to come.