Fresh and Fucking Fabulous: A Story Corp Interview

Stranger. It no longer resembles a word for a foreign figure lurking and plugged into a machine; it can be the best friend you have known for 10 years, the girl you party with every Friday, or the classmate you sit perplexed next to in class. When I first heard about StoryCorp, I thought this was the time that I could justifiably walk about and bombard strangers with deep questions in the name of journalism. I had a few ideas of people to interrogate, buzzing through my mind, from the lazy-eye guy who sells my scratchers and Monsters at the 7/11, or the grandmother that felt like a stranger sharing the same blood. However, I eventually realized, after numerous failed interviews and stammered questions, I should be spending my time getting to know the people I…well, already know! I need to be growing with them, alongside of them, and truly foster not only an intimate conversation, but an intimate relationship.

Angela was the perfect candidate. We met two years ago on the first day of classes our freshman year, as I rolled up five minutes late to the Intro to Fashion class, and sat in the only available seat next to her. I remember vividly that I was wearing a suede dress with leopard ballet flats, since my feet still bear the scars from that retched day. She said a couple snide comments under her breath, mocking the hunky diver across from us who asked if a salmon was a fish, and I knew our friendship would be the things of rainbows, unicorns, cheap liquor, and 80’s music. After two years, two double dates, 7 frat parties, 2 fucked up Cookout runs, and 70 billion hours of undergraduate research, we have become very close, but not intimate. We have never talked about shit that made us feel the need to step out of the room because we were about to cry, or family fuck ups that left us feeling like the red headed step child. I knew her, and yet, I knew nothing about her.

Like I always do, I missed the turn to her house and got mildly lost in the cluster fuck corn field  that is Foxridge. I was lazily acknowledged by her dog Nelly, who apparently is too noble of a dog to turn her head in the direction of a peasant like me. I scooted her off of her furry thrown as Angie and I talked for 45 minutes about her driving-while-naked-and-drunk Bumble date, debating whether you can get on probation for that and not get kicked out of school. We reminisced, as we laugh so hard we scared the dog, about all the adventures I begrudgingly dragged her out of bed for on a Tuesday night. Honestly, I am surprised she put up with me for this long. She mentioned that her favorite story of mine, or as our friend group calls it “Rachel’s You-Will-Never-Guessed-What-Happened-Last-Night Morning Story”, was when I came back from Nationals in Texas. I poisoned her ears with my wild escapades of Texas, escaping the chains of my hotel room to go get fucked in a millionaire cowboy’s RV on trap field 42 in the National Shooting Complex. If he hadn’t said “Baby, everything is bigger in Texas”, it would have just been another boring story about a girl saving a horse, and riding a cowboy (yes, everything is indeed bigger in Texas). Her favorite memory of me was sadly not with me, but I still felt her presence. It was Valentine’s Day 2016, when I had eaten too much of the devil’s lettuce, fell down walking past Newman, proceeded to snapchat a video to her about my fall, to which I then fell while videotaping. It is a topic she mentions at least once a week, and if I get married, she will bring it up drunkenly in the wedding toast (and hopefully not mention the cowboy).

I didn’t want to focus on me though. Since we started in the fashion program, her main goal was to pursue design and make clothing for plus size women. She wants to “create something that can be used, and not just collect dust on the shelf”. Growing up, body image was an issue, as she struggled to find beauty and sexiness in herself, wondering why boys didn’t like her, or think she was the pretty one. “I want people to feel confident in themselves by being themselves, and I want to inspire people because they inspire me,” which is my favorite part about Angela. She invests every hour she isn’t working two jobs into her designs, not to create something beautiful, but to create something that makes one feel beautiful. She inspires me every day I show up late for class to not let a test or a bad day at work get in the way of your goals; that’s all we really have that is truly ours.

One thing I never asked Angie about before was her family. I figured if she didn’t mention it, there was a reason, and I would stay out of it. However, since it was in the name of journalism, I decided to pry a little deeper than usual. She currently lives with her sister, Linda, whom I supposedly met drunk and intimidated her so traumatically, she can’t speak to me, according to Angie. They live like roommates, only commenting that “we are just here”. As kids, Angie felt that her extended family, especially her one grandmother, was more “invested” in Linda. She doesn’t suggest living with your sibling, as she compared her sister to a nagging mother. Speaking about her mother definitely hit a sour spot. She travels a lot for her job, missing out on most of Angie’s college and high school career. She feels that her job affected their relationship, but never could tell her for fear of hurting her. I could tell in her voice that she not only felt remorse for uttering it, but for the fact that it’s true. We actually talked a lot about her grandmothers. One of the hardest times of her life was when her nana came to live with her family in Maryland. She vividly described an instance when she was taking a nap before swim practice, and she heard sounds coming from the kitchen that resembled nails dragging across the ground. She went downstairs and saw her grandmother, covered in blood, on the ground, and unable to move. With her mother away on business and her dad at work, she raced to the neighbor’s house got help. She jokes and says that it made her helpful in a stressful situation, but mentions that her nana died last February. I sat next to her every day that semester, no idea that was happening to her, too blind to noticed and probably too stoned to care.

I never knew Angie had been in love. Most of the time we talk about my numerous sexual adventures and now my very serious relationship, that we never mention her love life. I have set her up on a couple blind dates and we joke about Tinder Trash, but I never asked her about the cursed “L” word. We were talking about frat parties and she said “the other guy always seem to be more into you than me”. With an eye roll, I push her further, and asked her about her crushes. “I was in love.” I pushed further. “He wasn’t as in love with me as I was with him, actually he wasn’t in love with me at all”, she confessed. She met Jake at a school carnival, and in the midst of getting separated from their friends, they found each other; “It was the first time a guy had noticed me”. In freshman and sophomore year of high school, they played cat and mouse, somehow always ending up together at the end of a dance or party, just existing together. He was perfect. Everyone said they were perfect together, expect Jake. He kept stringing her along for four years, explain that he couldn’t date her because “he wanted to be a priest”. Guess who had a girlfriend three weeks later? The thought of Jake holds her back from moving on, admitting that she continuously compares every guy to him. Why him? He made her laugh, of course, but “he looked at me that way”, and I knew, because that same look breaks all of our hearts.

Angie was never a stranger; she will always be my friend. Now, I can say that I know her, at least a little more than I did, but now in a deeper way. Even though she is an atheist, I asked her what she wanted God to say to her when she dies, and it was the most profound and genuine thing she could have said: “You did what you could”. It made me love Angie more, for her effort, for her curves, for her strange noises, for her snarky comments, for her great taste in 80’s music, and especially, for her poor taste in IHOP-crazed boys.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY RACHEL KISER

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