There I was, sitting on a couch, minding my own business, when up walks this girl. She stuck out her hand, and with an easy smile said, "Hi! I'm Julie."
Now, girls dont usually walk up & introduce themselves to me like that (.. uh, not unless they're serving me a restraining order, or happen to be a detective who has called me in for questioning).
We were the only two in the room (.. where I was waiting for friends to finish their socializing). At least it seemed that way.
I found her easy to talk to. Classic all-American girl-next-door.
Not too good-looking to make you nervous, but cute enough to make you proud to take her on a date.
Picture of health. Vibrant. Wholesome. Fun. Hints of tomboy. Easy to like. Very.
I took particular note of the confident strides she took while approaching. Long, alacritous steps .. specially for such a little thing. (Only 5-3.)
Didnt know at the time that she had been a national-caliber runner. Nor that she had graduated from Stanford, with a full-boat scholarship (.. which tells me she's not only fast, but smart). In high school, she was second in the state (California).
[ She went to Corona del Mar high school. C-d-M is where I met Kobe. That's where Kobe lives. And also my 89-year-old walk-in-the-park friend. It's a ritzy little hamlet wedged between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach (.. where I used to live). ]
We chatted for only a few minutes .. before others came up and wanted to talk to her. But she definitely gave me the impression of being a 'together' person. As we went our separate ways, I called out, "Thanks for introducing yourself". And I meant it.
That was the first & last time I saw her.
» The Accident
Julie is .. gone. ('Dead' sounds so horribly harsh.)
She was involved a horrible 10-car accident .. down on Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH) .. two weekends ago (9 days ago) .. a truly horrific crash that everybody here is talking about.
Three people died. More went to the hospital. Traffic was blocked off for 10 hours. (PCH is a heavily-traveled road.) Julie's car was the cause.
Hard to believe. Cuz it was barely a month or two ago when she walked up and stuck out her hand with such enthusiastic vigor. Seems like just yesterday.
Police claim Julie's car (a Taurus) was doing 90 or 100 MPH .. fast enough to send it airborne. It is not easy to get ANY car up to 100-mph driving down PCH (40-mph zone) .. even if you were trying.
It's a busy road (2 lanes each way), especially on the weekend. Sometimes traffic slows to a crawl, particularly during the summer months .. when locals take to navigating the side-streets.
I honestly cannot imagine a car -- any car, not even a Ferrari -- doing 90- or 100-mph down that particular stretch of PCH. My first thought was that the accelerator must've stuck. Cuz nothing else made sense.