Sunday, October 7, 2007
Over the next few entries, I want to share my friend Marciela – to evoke the essence of her, to convey what she meant in my life, to demonstrate her strength and love as a person.
An image that captures her – one that renders her childlike, fun, spunky and loving. 18/19/20/21/22 years old, pigtails in her blonde hair, riding on a bike with a basket at the front, and in the basket, her Chihuahua, Willamina – the wind blowing back Mina's ears. Mina and Marcie, smiling. I wish I had a photo. (No one had ever heard of Paris Hilton, and lapdogs in your bag was not a phenomenon at the time.)
Three of my favorite things about her -Her laugh that was infectious and child-like in its pureness. It started out somewhere deep in her chest, came out low and would graduate up into her nose to become this high-pitched nasal and throaty giggle. That laugh, matched with amazing blue eyes that made her look as if she had a 200-year-old soul, and maybe she does. The way it felt when Marcie walked through a door - entered a room. She commanded it. You sensed LIFE when she arrived, and depth and fun and sincerity.
Color. I don’t remember marcie without color. She wore grass greens, turquoise blue, poppy orange. She was not a person to cover herself in black. To be blah. Always pulled together. Her make-up just so, a scent she’d selected carefully, jewelry she made. It was important to her to look good. She possessed her body- womanly, full and sexy. She never looked ordinary. She didn’t look like anyone but her. Her taste, her style – drawn out of her by her own keen eye. Not media, celebrity, Gap storefront windows. This remained true through the years.
She was an artist. A photographer, a jewelry maker, a painter. The paintings and jewelry are what I most remember. Recently she’d started grad school, and was learning the craft of filmmaking. Her paintings – bleeding, saturated colors, evocative of heat, spice, passion, blatant honesty. Her, through and through.
Her artistry, her color, these seeped into the way she organized the space she inhabited. Whoever her roommates were, they had to become part of Marcie’s world. It was a lovely and intense and fun world. You felt safe, cradled, in her space. Earthy terracotta and red clay colors on the walls, textiles draped over windows, Frida Kahlo images on the walls and Catholic saint candles. Tex-Mex meets south Louisiana meets an artist. Forever, now, when I see any work by Frida Kahlo, I will be reminded of my friend.
Music always playing as loud as it could go, eminating through concrete walls. In the early days, Sade, Brand New Heavies, Bjork, Bob Marley, Billie Holliday, Stevie Wonder (You’re the only woman/Boogie on Reggae Woman).
How we met - In 7th grade, she sat behind me in English class. She was oblivious to me. When the bell rang at the end of class, I used to rush as fast as I could to my locker. If I wasn’t fast enough, Marcie would get to her locker first (located directly above mine) and slam it open, inevitably knocking her locker door against my head. I was so intimidated by her presence, which even back then was powerful, that I said nothing. Even if she and I had never been friends later in life, I would have remembered her forever because of this. – I feared her. Marcie loved me to tell this story – she would narrow her eyes and pretend she could not remember ever owning a bullying presence. But she did, all her life, and she knew when to make use of it.
How we became friends - We went to high school together and never really crossed paths. Regardless, we were intended to intersect. Our freshman year of college, we began hanging out. What I remember is that it was a mutual love of Madonna that we may have first bonded over. Anyone who loved Madonna was my friend.
Marcie could be counted on to make you realize what an incredibly amazing spring or fall day it was outside, and the next thing you knew, you were skipping class and sitting with her on the parade grounds. She convinced you to recognize, absorb and be part of a beautiful day. I recall making Baskin Robin runs with her. Riding bikes.
Once, sitting in The Bayou, a bar that is no longer, with her and a.t., we decided we were going to pretend we were invisible – not only invisible, but that we could only see and hear each other. (Before arriving, we’d been engrossed in conversation, and we wanted to keep up whatever intense bonding was going on. No disruptions.) We spent the night completely erasing everyone around us as we drank cheap beer, sucked on lollipops and talked. If people we knew approached us, we pretended we could not hear or see them. Lots of strange looks, but we didn’t care at all. We gossiped, people watched. We created a web that was only the three of us. Marcie had a gift for inventing a momentary situation and convincing others to live that moment with her.
Another time, my now husband approached me in The Bayou. Marcie was VERY quick to command, “LEAVE HER ALONE. She has a boyfriend.” Pounce. She shot that down real quick. If Marcie told you to do something, you listened. She was bossy. Bossy. I asked my husband c. who was bossier of the two of us. Without blinking, he said, Marcie. bossy, bossy, bossy.
I also remember how, when that boyfriend of mine and I were going through some rough times, Marcie made sure I didn’t sit alone in my little apartment. She had me coming over to her place, and she kept me fed and with constant company. I remember nights at her place heating up brie and French bread from the grocery store and eating them together. We used to curl up in her big bed -her and Mina and her roommate e. All of us talking, laughing, dishing on boys, being girls. Marcie knew how to comfort her friends. It was not in her not to nurture.
If you saw how she loved Mina, you saw this. A tiny snapshot of Marcie as a mother.
In those days, and really always, Marcie's friends were her family. Last night we gathered at my house, a small collection of her friends. Someone remarked at the people she surrounded herself with - how she needed to be surrounded by a million different facets. She nurtured every one of us in different ways. I guess we all were reflections of this intense and magical and fiercely loyal woman.