The Past Meets the Present

Here’s a story.

Back in high school my sister’s first boyfriend was in a band and in that band was a drummer named Phil. For years we’d all pal around, a mish-mashed pack of us, going to parties and coffee shops and seeing music- countless hang out sessions at my childhood home where my Mom kept the fridge stocked and the pool glistened in the backyard. Phil went off to the Air Force and I went off to college but we wrote letters and our friendship deepened. While he was in Monterey at the Defense Language Institute studying Arabic, I was neck-deep in my Women’s Studies/Lit major at UCSC. The distance between Santa Cruz and Monterey as about a 45 minute drive so sometimes we’d be able to find the time to hang out have long conversations about relationships and life and our futures. He was one of my best friends.

We’d always swap music. He’d send me tapes, many of them containing songs he’d written or had played with friends. A couple of them were about me. (Have you ever had someone write a song about you? It’s pretty dreamy. It’s up there with having a poem penned about you and having someone draw you.) The years kept passing and the letters kept traveling between our two distances. I was 25 when I hopped a plane to go visit him in Georgia where he was stationed. And during that week-long stay, we had a bit of a love affair.

It was kind of one of those situations where it existed in this bubble. It wasn’t something we talked about making work long distance. We were just two friends who had loved each other a long time and in that visit, we found a sanctuary in one another. The depth of feeling had a twinge of magic for me and still, years later, think of it and smile. Not in a way of longing, just that it was special and I’m grateful for that experience.

This is us circa 1998 where I did not have a clue how to take a self-portrait as evidenced by this horrible angle. And yet, this is the only photo I can find of the 2 of us together.

Pretty soon after that trip our friendship dissolved. Not out of malice or hurt or lack of feeling but he’d met a girl who didn’t approve of him being friends with me and out of respect for her wishes, he backed off. We do some crazy stuff for love, don’t we? It would be years before we would talk again. He’d get married, have 2 kids, move to Maryland, get divorced and I would date a bunch of guys, find my footing in my career, move to Seattle and meet Mr. Darcy. Thanks to Facebook we reconnected and have been able to catch each other up on our lives. But this weekend he came out to visit two of his best friends that live in Seattle of all places. And after ten years, I got to see him face-to-face and hug the shit out of him.

The Space Needle is growing from my head!

I got to meet two of his oldest friends from the Air Force, the ones he’d make music with and send to me on those mixed tapes. It was wild to meet them after all these years- and that one of them lives blocks from my apartment (small world!). I used to listen to their songs on repeat and I remembered most of the lyrics to a particular favorite, “Hooker With a Heart of Gold”. Friday night at a wine bar where they were playing an open mic they let me sing it with them (albeit, off key). (Click that link if you want to watch a video of said performance.)*

Phil & Talib strumming (I think this was when they were doing a bluegrass version of a Jane's Addiction song)

Doke & Phil, old friends

All this is to say, it was a great weekend full of remembering and nostalgia and catching up.

*Photo credit to my sister, Dokey

There is absolutely nothing that compares to an old friend.


*And no, “Hooker With a Heart of Gold” is not one of the songs about me.


11 thoughts on “The Past Meets the Present

  1. Since you ruined my comment about “Hooker…” I’ll use my backup comment, “you’ve got tons of things growing out of your head.”

    Hmmm, that one’s just not as much fun as how I was going to ask about the Hooker song. Damn.

  2. Sizz, I have been reading your blog for AGES (don’t even ask how I got here … who the hell knows). And I adore you. Anywhoodle …. you and your sister are ADORABLE and remind me of me and my sass (AKA my sister). But her pic today really pushed me to comment. I’m sure she’s heard it 100 times but she looks exactly like Sheri Oteri (from SNL fame) whom I also adore. I just had to share.

    … and randomly last week you mentioned SC and I was like, huh? Super weird … my mom lives in Santa Cruz.

  3. Old friends, that knew you back then, are awesome, and if you get to catch up with them in person, even better! Great weekend!

  4. There’s not much that feels as good as seeing someone who knew you way back when, and getting to catch up on the now while you laugh about the then.
    Oh, and I am SO jealous of you Seattle-ites wearing jackets! I read yesterday that you’ve had the “78 minute summer”. I’m in Oklahoma, where it’s been over 100 degrees every day for…oh I think forever now. Miser-eeeeee!!

  5. I have a post brewing about the friends i’ve seen this year, that I haven’t seen in a long, long time. Magical and kind of blowing my mind. I’d love to meet Phil and stand next to him, is he 6’8″ or what?

  6. Pingback: Helping Hand | Sizzle Says

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