During my one year at the University of New Hampshire, my roommate and I made friends with Rebecca Lolicata. She lived 2 doors down from our dorm room and had an infectious laugh and ginormous curly black hair. She had won the Miss Manchester pageant and one of the prizes was a little bit of scholarship money for school. She also spent only a year at UNH before moving on to Tempe, Arizona and then onto parts unknown. I got a letter from her once after we parted ways but fell out of touch with her.
We had a lot of fun together and she was one of the lucky ones that was allowed to have a vehicle (I believe it was a Camaro) which was strictly verboten for freshman and sophomores. Her “excuse” was asthma and her doctor wrote her a note saying she needed transportation to go to her doctor’s appointments. One night when we were coming back from who knows where, she insisted that we had to stay in the car with the radio on for a few more minutes. She was a die-hard metal head and had entered a radio contest for front row tickets and back stage passes for Guns N’ Roses. She “had a feeling” she was going to win and we sat in the car for an extra forever waiting for the guy to announce the name so we could all leave. He picked her. When the DJ was trying spit out her last name, she started screaming like someone was attacking her. There was a guy in the parking lot that ran over to help her, thinking someone was trying to kidnap her or something. He was yelling “Are you OK?! What’s wrong?!” and couldn’t understand her screeching babble…. “OHMYGODIWON…..AXLEROSE…..AHHHHHHH” followed by hyperventilation, followed by some deep hits off of her inhaler.
I was thinking of that night yesterday. Now and then I look for old friends on Facebook or Google, certainly not to stalk people but to see if I can get an email address for an old friend like Becki and drop her a line. Depending on how careful you are about your life’s details online, it either takes 30 minutes to find out a few things or 5 minutes to find out everything. She doesn’t have a Facebook account that I could find, so I went the Google route. There was a few minutes of searching and clicking and a bit of denial on my part. I found Becki. Forever 32.
She died in San Francisco two weeks after her birthday in December 2005. I couldn’t find any more information or additional mention of her anywhere. She’s been dead for almost 5 years yet I didn’t know it. All the times I think of her I consider her alive and still making memories of her own. Someone I might bump into one day. But all of her possibilities are gone and, in relation to her, mine are as well. It has changed the way I recall those memories. Yesterday they were simply happy recollections of a friend. Today, they are still that and yet it feels that they have been placed in a locked box. Not a photo you keep casually on the mantle but a memento one hides in a dusty place. Perhaps to keep it safe. Perhaps to keep me safe from it.
I haven’t seen her in 18 years but it doesn’t really seem like so long ago. And now I won’t have the chance to see her again. I think of her, and her infectious laugh, and her ginormous curly black hair. Even though she’ll never know it.
(If any family members of Rebecca’s happen upon this post, I have a few photos that were taken of her during our time at UNH. Please email me at heather(at)thelooking-glass(dot)com and I can scan them and send them along.)