My best friend from high school Jiji introduced me to video games and Anime. My quaint hippie upbringing disallowed anything involving violence and media, so while the other kids were playing Duck Hunt and watching Power Rangers, I was learning how to make beaded Macrame’ and sell it to tourists at Vermont State Parks.
Jiji was watching Predator and Terminator by the tender age of 7, but was eventually ushered into the sheltered world of Church school, while I was attending super-progressive, totally organic “alternative” schools. By the time we met (freshman year), I was well versed in Greek Mythology, Shakespeare, Tarot Readings, Numerology and of course, Astrology, while she had excelled in art, role playing games, virtual zombie-slaying and singing “Our God is an awesome God.”
Neither of us wanted to go to college. Sadly, both of our mothers had struggled immensely to bring their daughters collegiate glory, so there was lots of pressure by the time we were 17. Fort Lewis College is the only 4-Year school in America that offers free tuition to every Native American in the country, so Jiji, being a half-breed herself, was enrolled without question. I was enrolled at which ever college offered me the most financial aid, and that happened to be 2300 miles away in Boston, Mass.
Jiji’s college career didn’t last. Mine was miserably perpetuated until graduation. We moved in together. I filled her ears with zodiac mumbo jumbo. She made me play Final Fantasy. We debated the merit of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and the Oscar worthiness of Titanic.
I’ve seen my friend go through heartbreak and misery. I’ve seen her outshine her peers and defy popular opinion. She never ceases to amaze me with her solidarity and creativity. When she met her fiance, I was in a low point of my life. I was ruled by quick fixes, not long term thinking. Jiji always stayed sane, though she experienced much of the darkness that inundated my life.
Though she and I both began relationships during this time, hers has ultimately survived. The man she chose to be her partner is kind, thoughtful, intelligent, poetic and humorous. He is the quiet Pisces presence to her Leo fanfare. Obviously, since we are both fish, I can’t say enough about how devoted, loyal and compassionate we are 😛
To Jiji and Grady on their wedding. May the Chinese luck of 8/8/8 bring you all the joy in the world on your special day 🙂
I love you both.