In Wright state’s drawing I class, I had a small group of colleagues my age flock to my easel, dragging theirs close to mine while gazing at the talent I left in charcoal and sometimes H2 graphite pencils on my multi-media sketchbook. I’ve always had a knack for drawing, and I never knew it would be a gateway for forming friendships with those who admired my work.
There was one girl on particular that I hung around then- it was a refreshing sunny 2011 springtime, when Valerie took to my side during class, usually 5, 10 minutes late with long, pitch black hair tied back in a loose bun and the coffee drink that held her up.
One day, our class was going out to this very shady grassy spot in the woods near the university to practice drawing landscapes. After about an hour of creation, Valerie made a click-click whistle to get my attention. “Ey,”
I looked up from my drawing board and met her playful, cerulean eyes. “Yeah?”
“Let’s blow this pop stand… wanna go to the sculpture house?”
With squinted eyes, I smiled and nodded quietly, careful not to break the others concentration around me.
Valerie raised her hand, waving it around and asked the professor if she could go to the bathroom at the sculpture house and bring me for safety. I don’t remember much about our professor, but she did something of a huff and gave us permission. She then turned and called out in a monotone voice: “Now, next time guys, make sure you go to the bathroom BEFORE you come out to the woods”
We hurried on the path to the sculpture house, dodging tree roots, fallen lumber, and puddles. I wasn’t wearing the best shoes for a walk through the woods like this, and I remember ruining the pair I was wearing.
The rest of that memory with her is a little fuzzy. We made it to the sculpture house, but couldn’t go inside because classes were going on.
This other time, I bought me and Valerie ice cream drumsticks from the little store by my dorm with my Wright state food money. The sun was just setting, and she was blasting Justin Bieber drivers side in her black bullet of a car, with me finishing my cone passenger side.
We were on our way to her house some couple cities away, out in the middle of practically nowhere. Valerie was also a fan of my writing, and I had agreed to help her write an English paper because she had writers block.
Valerie was a very creative, open-minded and free-spirited creature, whom often doubted her abilities to bring about beauty in the universe, when the girl herself WAS beauty in itself. It wasn’t the bluest of the blue eyes, nor petite bulb of a button nose above fuller plump lips outlining seraph’s image of an angel’s face, nor thick feminine curve of her hips as she hustled, coffee splashing slightly out the crease of her cup lid, late yet again for our drawing class. Those features skimmed the surface of ‘the true beauty she brought about to the universe’.
We pulled up to her parents house- a mansion, bigger than my wildest dreams. She was so nonchalant about her living situation-a deck surrounding the house, a crazy ass staircase leading to her bedroom with a king size bed and MacBook plugged in nearby.
She pulled out a deck of Rider-Waite Tarot cards she just bought at the bookstore. She was a little clumsy but gave me my first ever Tarot reading: you’re too mature at times and sometimes you’re too immature. Try to create a balance of your maturity level.
Some point, after we did some art together, we got around to her English paper. I recall her getting a good grade on it too.
I remember she was feeling a lot of pressure from her parents to succeed and make money, which clashed her artistic, free-spirited demeanor. Valerie envied my artistic and writing talents, and I envied Valerie… in general. Her spirit, her size, her femininity. While she held shadows, and struggled with her self-worth like any other young adult her age, she was ‘goals’ to me in many different ways. I expressed that to her on occasion and she’s say the same thing every time : “ooooh no no no, you wouldn’t want to be me”
Years have passed between us as our paths went separate ways. I dropped out of college for personal reasons and learned how to live on my own. I believe she did something similar, but I know she’s a bar tender at a happening place in the Oregon District, bringing about her own sense of beauty to the universe. And while our friendship could best be described as ‘Valerie’ by Amy Winehouse, I applaud and admire her and the impact she’s left on me from afar. She deserves all the goodness she manifests with her gift she spreads everyday.