I had what I could fit into my car with me

December 22 2013

When I moved to California from a tiny midwestern town in 2001, I had what I could fit into my car with me. I moved into a sublet, found a temp job, and started a zine. Attending countless punk shows during this time from Reno to LA, sleeping on couches, driving all-nighters, close friends and new friends are one in the same, but you lose track of people--I did. Time passes: career, marriage, kids.

This year I got an email from my estranged step-mom hoping to catch up and reconnect. It's a nostalgic season, I have a 2-year-old daughter who has spurred me to re-size my heart, and I needed to forgive my step-mom. We exchanged a few emails, a promise of a phone call, and that was the end of it. It was a quick wash of the hands of the whole dirty business. I felt adult, matter-of-fact, professional. I could HANDLE STUFF.

Later that same week I get an unexpected FedEx at my office. Unusual. It was from an old friend from my punk rock zine days. I'm instantly filled with dread. Heart stops. This is the stuff of existential life crises. Sh*t. Do I tell my husband? Is there a severed ear in there? The return address is only his first name and a PO box. What the hell could this be? I was a crusty, delinquent 20 year old, but turned out OK. This person could be anything.

I opened the package carefully. Inside the envelope were clippings from my zine and a thick stack of photographs of me and friends from shows and travels all over the West Coast, notes, drawings--Priceless stuff. I thought back to my 20s: getting elbowed in the boob by Jello Biafra, the thick grime of Gilman Street, pretending to be tough at Slims, the ancient band members at the Holidays in the Sun, late nights locating my car after a show freezing in my fishnets. The friends from those days, the boys, the music.

I sent a nice, short note thanking him for sending the package. I didn't hear back. Nothing. Someone let the air out of the balloon.

You don't usually get the resolution you're hoping for, but I am grateful for the gesture.


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Winters, California USA

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