I've been thinking about this day for weeks, possibly even months, if I dared to keep track. I've been trying to adjust schedules and juggle appointments and finagle a miracle to get my bum out your way to celebrate your day. But life happens, and you of all people know that. So instead of partying with you, on the 40th anniversary of your entrance to this magnificent world, all I can do is whoop with joy from 500 miles away, and write you a birthday letter. Thank goodness for the internet. (I didn't even manage to get the card out on time. But I promise to call. Even if all I do is leave you a silly voicemail.)
Speaking of which, we were in college at the dawn of that lovely thing called the World Wide Web. By that point, we'd been to the computer centers too many times to count and sipped a plethora of coffees, maybe from Cava Java. We'd been to Stucchi's and the CCRB, and a couple of really bad frat parties. We'd been through Hungry Howies on dining hall-less Sunday nights, Bohemian Rhapsody, a plant called Sarcasm, the smell of burned hair gel, an all women's dorm, the relief of Mojo and so many things. We survived junior year cockroaches and Richard the custodian, no space in the refrigerator, and too small of a room. We'd experienced riots in the street, tumbleweeds on the hall, and so much more I can't even remember.
But what I do remember is the first day I met the girl with the bright blue eyes. Thanks to letters sent before the start of school, I'd seen your picture and knew a few facts about you. There are very few letters, though, that can do anyone justice. The girl before me stood confident, poised, and ready to tackle the world: the complete antithesis of me, who would have holed up in a single room for the entire year had anyone let me. Over the course of that first year, and many years afterward, you broadened my mind to music, politics, love, and lessons in life.
I don't want to belabor the point here. We've known each other now for almost 22 years. I've known you longer than I haven't known you. I've lived in the same room, the same apartment, the same city, and different cities. Our families have changed our jobs have changed, our lives have changed. Some for the worse, some for the better (mostly for the better, I'd like to think). And in that time, I've come to realize what a gift you and your friendship are for me. You are my third sister. You are the one with whom I'd like to sit on the porch of the old folks home and reflect on our lives. You are Julie, and I'm so grateful that once upon a time, our stars aligned.
Happy Birthday, Julie!