I was maybe a bit of a bad girl at the time but I still had my innocence. I was 23, flatchested but with hips, rocking sexy librarian glasses and logger boots. Very little makeup and lots and lots of cash in my pockets. Easy come, easy go. You know the way.
I loved him, the way all little proteges love their mentors, the way every little sparrow loves the hawk. He was bad, too, and dark and so, so smart. He was tall and pithy and often wore things shredded and stitched by his own hand. He was tres punk rock and we kept running into skulls again and again and again. Buckles. T-shirts. Paintings.
This was years before the beauty of Dia De Los Muertos caught me, and the imagery, with its starkness and potential for pretension, meant little. So I asked him, ‘What’s with all the skulls?’
‘Well,’ he said, with one of his classic nonplussed bon mots, ‘First we had the bomb. Then we had the hole. Now we have the virus.’
And it was just one of these moments that we all have, that I cannot explain to you but you know all about anyway, when a few words distill down the essence of our absurdity, our futility, and our relentless joy in the face of it anyway
I don’t know how people can stop meaning anything to one another. Almost every single person I have come across in my life meant something and continues to mean something, if only in the eye of memory. I suppose this might explain my relentless Googling for ghosts of Christmas past, and my habit, surely annoying to some, of turning up every few years, like a bad penny, taking stock of everyone – like some cyber mother hen, tracking her chicks down through time and space. It has been a difficult thing for me to learn and accept that sometimes, people just don’t want to be found………and that includes me, so why I should find this reluctance to connect on the part of others is pretty nonsensical.
What started all this today was that the Craiglist Best Of was refreshed, and in one of the more racy posts this girl used the phrase ‘double dog dare you,’ which took me back 14 years to the summer I met this dreadlocked Canadian nurse who turned out to be one of the great tragic loves of of my life – although I ended up being nothing more than a braided go-go dancer footnote in his history, I’m sure. In our courting dance, he sent me a telegram that said, ‘Come at me at 500 miles per hour. Let’s see what happens. Double dog dare you,’ and suddenly, I was freshly 21 again, with a suitcase full of lacy bits and stiff new shoes, positive beyond all persuasion that this was Part of the Plan. I learned the hard way not to ever pack a suitcase with so much joy again.