i was clearing out my junk room (believe it or not, it's almost done!) when i uncovered a box that had a lot of letters and cards in it from old friends and loved ones. as i began to sort through them, i unintentionally read a few. amazing, the power of the written word. actually, what's really amazing is the power of letters. not emails - letters. it was all so personal and heartfelt and...intimate, somehow. even the most casually tossed off note from my neighbors, thanking me for spontaneously gifting them with pound cake. i loved the handwriting, the little drawings in the margins instead of photos to show me things, the random postcards from all over the place. it made me want to get some stationery and write, write, write.
so many of them were from people that i hadn't seen or heard from in years. one of them, from a friend who passed away several years ago, was so full of love and feeling for me that reading it made me cry - in part because it made her so real, and it made me realize how much i miss her.
where on earth were these long lost friends? what were they doing now? were they happy? did they remember me?
of course, these letters were written before the age of facebook (or even friendster - remember them?) so of course i jumped on facebook to find one friend that wrote an especially compelling letter that i never answered. his name was mo and the letter was a fast paced catching up on his happy creative life in northern california, a place that my arty/guitar driven/punk rock undergrad set in austin texas seemed to gravitate towards like moths to a burning man bonfire. he gave me all his contact information and was looking forward to a return letter. i can't even begin to tell you how badly i felt when i realized i probably never wrote him back.
mo, beautiful mo. pasty as a glass of fresh buttermilk, with hair that looked as though it was cut at random by a blind, drunken barber. refreshingly, he had no tattoos - at least, none that i could see. his clothes were mostly safety pinned onto his lean, lanky frame, and he wore heavy steel-toed boots, even in the summertime. he would dumpster dive for fun when NO ONE was into it and emerge from what i considered to be unimaginable filth, victorious - with delicious things to eat, cute things to wear, fun things for anyone's home.
once i remember him hitting a particularly odd motherlode - more donuts than even he could carry home. (heh.)
the thing about mo is that he was basically a very sweet guy. he didn't seem to have not one hateful mean-spirited evil bone in his sturdy, sickly looking body. he looked like he was an alcoholic, drug addled mess - but he wasn't. he was polite, smart, and kind of a goofball when we were alone. he would occasionally make me laugh so hard, i'd snort. mo was a good time, especially at a punk rock show. i vaguely remember seeing some pretty cool shows with him around. and i distinctly recall that he was respectful of the fact that at the time, i wore a beehive for a living.
why didn't i jump all over him like a spider monkey when i met him? i have no idea. probably because he didn't jump all over me. and anyway, i was so not into schtupping my male friends. i knew girls who befriended guys with sex in mind - they considered that to be an option, somewhere in there. i grew up with a lot of brothers and no sisters, so i naturally assumed that God would give me more when i made my way into the world. sisters, too. and lots of play cousins.
so i found mo on facebook. crazy, right? in our last exchange, i thought, wow. i should write him that letter. so i'm working on what's becoming a not-too-overwhelming package.
now i'm remembering bull, whose real name is raoul, who would protectively walk me home from the p.a.c. at night. and then sometimes we'd make a pit-stop at the hole in the wall and play pool. he was mexican, with a peruvian grandpa i think, and he was from eagle pass, texas. the kind of guy who could build or fix anything. i loved him just as soon as i met him. his hair was falling out in clumps all over his head. he said it was drugs. i had no idea what he meant by that. i thought he had the mange.
he was bespectacled and straight-faced and frank and always thinking of someone else's feelings. or mine. even mine. really strangely super-animated and goofy, in our finer moments. to this day, we are siblings, to the soul.
good grief. i'd better write him, too.