I first met Julie back behind the school. No, we weren't sneaking cigarettes or anything. We were back there waiting for our kids to emerge among the manic mass streaming from the school after the afternoon bell. She has a daughter who graduated with Chaco and another that is one year older than Meego. She was also a familiar face at various volunteer events at the school, but I mainly got to know her at the back fence.
Since we've both evolved from elementary school mom status, I haven't really kept in touch with her, but she was an easy friend. Always smiling and cheerful, easy to talk with about anything, but not big on superficial small talk (which I hate).
On Saturday, Magnum and I were out taking China for a beauty walk. I looked up ahead on the sidewalk and saw Julie with her familiar pooch. She was talking with the man who lived in the corner house while her dog Jake and the guy's dog Harvey did some socializing.
As we approached, I hailed her and we stopped to chat a bit. During this, I sensed that something was "different" about Julie. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but something seemed changed. She looked the same, for the most part, other than her hair was shorter and curlier than our days at the back fence.
I just got this sense that she wanted to have a more real conversation with me, but we just shared some pleasantries, introduced Magnum, Jake, Harvey, China... I wanted to catch up more with her too, but we had Magnum, the neighbor, the dogs, so the "good to see you's" signaled the end and we all moved on.
The short encounter preoccupied me somewhat for the rest of the day. What was it? Something in her eyes told me she'd been through some "stuff" since I last spoke with her.
Yesterday, I decided to look her up. I couldn't find her on f_book, but her last name is rather unique and I wasn't sure I was spelling it correctly. So I googled to see if anything came from that and something did. A blog, in fact.
The title of the blog was the name of the street she lives on, so I thought it was a neighborhood blog for the neighbors to keep up with each other between block parties or such. But I clicked the link and found that it was a blog "to update family and friends on our journey through Julie's breast cancer".
SHOOT!! (or something like that)
I read a few entries to get the gist of the situation. The diagnosis was nearly two years ago now. She's been through the surgery, the reconstruction, the chemo, the medications, the side effects... So I was really wanting to get back in touch with her after our short casual chat on Saturday.
I found her on twitter. I do have a twitter account that I never use. Years ago, my boss wanted all us tutors to get an account so he could easily send out workshop info and such. He ended up not caring for it, and I never got around to deleting my account. I just never used it.