I just found out that one of my best friends at law school died. She was too young to die.
And too awesome to die. Can’t Death swop her for someone without a fabulous sense of humour? For someone who wasn’t such a presence?
There is nothing lawyerly or logical about her being gone. One day she thought she had the flu. The next day, she is gone. I can’t call her up.
I wish I had a digital photo of her but I don’t. All my pictures of Felicia are from just before the web….from the days when having free LEXIS-NEXIS access felt like having a secret pass to the world.
Felicia is one of the only people I’ve known who made me laugh every time we spoke. Damn. I just wrote “is.”
When I visited a class at Northwestern Law School, I noticed her right away. She had a green flat top with the sides shaved, fishnets, doc martens laced up to the knees, and a loud, confident rebuttal to the professor. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought. “It’s ok, I can go here.”
We were two of very few “out” feminists in the school. I was so perplexed that there was such ignorance of and resistance to feminism in 1991, that I conspired with Felicia and a few others to put on an event to debate “Is Madonna A Feminist for Social Change?” I loved the fact that our classmates would be hearing feminism no matter what side they heard.
I edited some video from Justify My Love and we packed the room, no small feat in that small pond of apathy. Felicia gamely took the “no” side and argued it beautifully in her pink, cleavage-baring suit. The same suit and cleavage she famously put to use when meeting Chief Justice Rhenquist the year before. The woman had flair.
Felicia fell in love with a classmate John Brewer. John was known for his advocacy of the Federalist Society and his passion for Wiliam F Buckley. They were, initially, an uncanny couple. It was John, I believe, who took Felicia to a party for some conservative notable where Felicia snuck into the office, swiped Phyllis Schlafly’s home number and then ceremonially presented it to our feminist professor and mentor as a gift.
We started a group called Chycks and invited the other women we knew with chutzpah to a tea with cucumber sandwiches, chocolate chip cookie dough pate and a free space to let our minds and mouths run.
Felicia had flair. She had humour. She had backbone. She thought she had the flu.
There is no time to mess around people. None. She was one of the best. Full of the joy and contradiction and brilliance of life. She could argue one side and then the other with the best of them. And oh, there always seemed to be sides. It was law school, after all. There were fights to be fought.
How could she and John be in love? How could it work? But work it did.
Love is way beyond sides.
I am older now. I am not so sure that it’s important to be so sure of sides.
I just want to hear her laugh.
There is no time to waste. None at all.