In my last blog I introduced you to Heather Barnes, my 4’10” freshman year college roommate. There’s so much to be said about this little ball of fun and that is why I dedicate today’s post to her.
Throughout our freshman year, our friendship evolved and we fell into a groove. Being a total musical theater nerd, she taught me all about the best ballads and introduced me to some incredible shows. We all have our idols and for Heather, Sutton Foster was goals! We’d sit in our dorm and listen to Sutton belt out “Not for the Life of Me”, a song about a small town girl that has just arrived to NYC and swears to never go back.
That year we would spend our weekends VOLUNTARILY going to Times Square. It’s crazy because though I can still understand the magic of that overstimulating tourist trap, you can not pay me to saunter through there the way we used to. At 18 years old though, those streets approximately between 42nd to 50th were inspiring! What used to fill me with excitement and leave me feeling energized now sounds like a dreadful task that takes mental preparation to conquer. If you live here, you get it.
In that one school year, we mastered the Broadway lottery (affordable tickets) system and saw so many amazing shows. Phantom of the Opera was the easiest to get and we saw it three times that year. To us, that masked phantom was romantic, sexy, and mysterious. In retrospect, he was a creepy stalker who lived in a sketchy tunnel under the theater of the opera and he basically kidnaps Christine to express his undying love for her. Maybe our attraction came from the movie version staring Gerard Butler (hello hottie). Whatever the reason, we wanted our own phantom to be obsessed with us, preferably one that looked like Gerard Butler.
By my senior year, waiting in lines for show lotteries faded and though they seem like one of those opportunities I should take advantage of still, what I lacked then in money, I now lack in time.
As we already established, I loved living with Heather but let’s be honest, we all have our flaws. Heather had the worst clear-the-room farts. (Sorry girlfriend, but you know it’s true) Luckily for Heather I think farts are funny and so it became comical every time this almost legal midget passed silent yet deadly gas. It wasn’t long that I gave her the nickname Pooface. To be fair, I too earned a nickname as a result of a flaw. I have a lot of hair and I shed like an animal. Finding my strands around the dorm drove Heather crazy and so I earned the name Hairy Buffalo. I’m not really sure where the buffalo part came from but it stuck nonetheless. And just like that, Heatha B Pooface and Hairy Buffalo were born!
Heather also deserves major credit for a nickname that has stuck with me and become a norm amongst close friends new and old. She is the originator of Jezziba, Jezz for short. Once you establish Jezz status, it just doesn’t feel right to call me by any other name.
Over the school year Heather and I learned a lot about each other’s interests and grew to like them in return. We clicked and just could be ourselves which is ironic because I don’t think either of us really knew who we were at that time. Plagued with homesickness and lack of confidence in our current life choices, we went through the motions of living in this city but only when we hung out together were we our true selves. Moving to NYC at 18 years old and not knowing anyone is intimidating and New York has a way of making you question whether or not you belong here.
I almost gave up. I missed my mom and dad more than I think anyone should and frequently called my mother crying. She and my father encouraged me to finish the year and then we’d discuss. Boy am I thankful for that. It took way more than just that one year to feel comfortable in my own skin but at least I found my footing. Mom always knows best.
For Heather though, staying in NYC just wasn’t logical. One thing she knew for sure is that she wanted to pursue musical theater and a school in Vermont was a better fit. And so, my little Heatha B Pooface left me after one year at Marymount. My heart ached to learn I’d have to find a new roommate but I was not at all worried about this friendship. I strongly believe soulmates come in all shapes, sizes and purpose. For Heather and I, it is certain our souls are connected for life.
After college Pooface moved back to NYC for a year but found a job that led her to LA where she still resides.
Some people are just meant to be in your life, even if it’s from far away. For Poo and I, it doesn’t matter how long we go without communication, it’s always like we never parted and just pick it up right where we left off. Over the years, she’s visited me in Colorado and I visited her in Vermont, L.A. and Florida(she did a college program at Disney).
Rumor has it she’s planning on making her way back to the east coast for good soon. One things for sure, it doesn’t matter where she lives, how often we speak, or what the circumstances are, Heatha B Pooface will always feel like home.