Every year when the Oscars come around I remember that you would rent a tux for the Oscars party that you always had in your dorm room. We would cut the pizza into small square pieces to act as hors d’oeuvres for the evening. That particular year, 1996, you were crazy about Kevin Spacey’s run for Best Actor in The Usual Suspects.
I absolutely hate that I am not entirely sure that your name was James. I think it was, but I can’t be sure, especially since you were enamored with director James Cameron. So, you see, it’s entirely possible I can be mixing up your fandom for him as your name.
I have this thing called dissociative identity disorder, and my memories of my life are fleeting and incomplete, at times. The memory of you is one that I wish was more complete because when I think of you I always smile.
We were college debate team partners, but we never took it seriously. While we should have been learning more about both sides of the NAFTA debate I was listening to you lecture me on why James Cameron is brilliant (your point of view), or why the book Friday Night Lights should be a movie (It happened!). Your film lectures were far more interesting than our debate topics. Perhaps that’s why we never advanced or placed in any of the debate tournaments we entered.
Your part-time job was at the movie theatre, of course. But not just any movie theatre. You worked at the old movie theatre in town that was barely holding it together. They didn’t even have a modern ticketing system. You gave out red tickets for admission that resemble those red tickets you get in a 50/50 raffle. But you were so proud to work there. I loved how seriously you took your job there. You treated it as your first job in the film industry.
And then I met her. I met Kat, and you saw right through her. But I did not. I was in love, and I thought you did not get me. You tried to warn me, but, instead, I got mad. I felt misunderstood, and I moved out of the dorm so that I could be with Kat. You were right, after all. She was bad news. It only took me 10 years to figure it out.
What I’ve written here is all I remember about you. This is it. I know there’s more. I feel there’s more, but I am not aware of any other memories with you.
And now here I am, many years later thinking of you as I do every year when the Oscars come around. The Oscars are all I have left of you. I really loathe awards shows, but I watch the Oscars in the hope that you’re watching as well. It’s also the only way I can thank you for giving me an appreciation of quality film-making.
The worst of it is that I am not even sure of your first name, and you were the real friend in all of this.