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[May, 1996] A Night at The Batcave

December 9, 2015 8 comments

[As my descent into gothdom continued, I befriended Chad, a college radio DJ who had an industrial band with his friend Rick called Clamp. He invited me to see his band play The Batcave, a club I had been curious about for a while, though I heard it was nowhere near as good as The Bank. He offered me a free ride to the club and free admission since I’d be with the band, so I couldn’t say no. (And for the record, while Chad was an utter sweetheart, I had no romantic interest in him.)]

KMFDM's Sascha Konietzo and self-proclaimed father of industrial rock.

KMFDM’s Sascha Konietzo and self-proclaimed father of industrial rock.

May 5, 1996

What I wonderful time I had last night.

Let’s do a Batcave vs. The Bank (Sat. nights) thing. First of all, The Bank has much better music. The Batcave was mostly industrial, though the last half hour or so was great in that I heard Sisters, Bauhaus, The Cure, Corpus Delicti, Alien Sex Fiend. Much fun to dance to. Also water is free at the Batcave (nice to save two bucks) and the people seemed a lot more approachable (though there are many more normal ones). And the Batcave’s dance floor is really cool—big checkered tiles and amazing lights…strobe, colorful pattered lights. It’s almost dizzying. I’ve giving The

Batcave a lot more points here but I still feel more attached to The Bank because they play so much more Goth.

[Goth and industrial music are quite different, though they share similarities in that both are dark and often relay heavily on synthesizers. Goths also seemed to outnumber rivetheads, their industrial counterparts, though they were essentially part of the same club scene and there was a lot of overlap in music taste. While I enjoyed some industrial (Skinny Puppy, Ministry, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Nine Inch Nails of course), my preference was for the less aggressive and more melancholy and melodic goth bands. So all the free water in the world wouldn’t have had me favor The Batcave over The Bank considering their respective playlists. And I’m sure it’s obvious by now, but I was totally one of those snobby goths who got annoyed at seeing “normals” in clubs, which usually meant jeans and sneakers. I wasn’t expecting everyone to be decked out in fishnet and leather, but come on, you go to a club like this, at least wear your black jeans and a dark T-shirt.]

As for people—at first there was no one that outrageous-looking, a few typical industrial boys. But then while dancing I noticed this guy who was almost even too scary-looking for me! He had a red velvet cape on, decorated studded/painted jacket underneath, lots of chains, a long skirt, lightning bolts painted all over his face.

I said something about him to Anita and she started laughing because she had just told this girl we had met that in a second I would mention this guy (in fact she jokingly bet her 10 bucks that I would get his number).

[Look, I know judging people favorably for their unusual appearance is just as bad as judging them poorly for being “normal” but here’s the thing. I was in my sixth year at a magnet school wearing The Gap were the unspoken uniform. I had been mocked for my… more colorful attire in seventh and eight grade, I got sick of the ridicule and wore bland clothes in ninth and tenth grade, and in eleventh grade I stopped giving a damn and started wearing what I wanted again. By the time I was a senior and doing the goth thing, I was definitely drawn to others who had a more unusual look, even though none of my friends did.]

I waited a while, mustering up the guts, and went up to him. I said something like: “I have to say, you look incredible.” He smiled and I walked away (not rudely, though—I hope). I guess I might have been a tiny bit freaked out, but I also wanted to leave a sense of mystery, have him come to me. Which he did at about 3:30 (yeah, he took his time, I guess we were both being coy).

We chatted for about 10-15 minutes (his name is Lanique, but the way) and exchanged numbers.

[And thus, my drive-by flirtation technique was born. I had the nerve to approach guys and be bold with them, but for very, very short bursts of time before I ran away.]

Not the guy from the club, but reminscent of goth pin-up boy John Koviak.

Not the guy from the club, but reminscent of goth pin-up boy John Koviak.

There was someone else, too. This stunning… industrial boy I’ll call him, even though it seems unfair to categorize someone so lovely. Tall, kinda thin, fishnet shirt, straight bleached hair (about jaw-length, pinned back) a long blond braid on the lower half of his head, some eyeliner and lipstick. Such a breathtaking face.

I watched him dance for a while. After I met Lanique, I went out on the dance floor for a while (when they played that stretch of Goth) and saw the blond nearby. Just as Anita and I were about to leave I asked her to give me a second.

I went up to stunning boy (well he was in his 20’s probably, but I’ll still use “boy”) and said, “don’t let this go to your head, but are beautiful.”

He smiled and said, “Thank you” then “you are, too.” This second part did not register for a moment, but by the time I realized it was to late to thank him so I just smiled.

Anita came over and we started to go. I was going to leave anyway—that mystery thing again, I suppose. Also, I’m not sure I could “have” someone like that.

As Anita was getting her coat and putting it on he walked by (actually she was blocking his way). He told me his name and asked me mine. I said, “Damiella” and repeated his name, “Berlin?”

He said, “Berlin” (or something like that) then “see you around.”

Art by Fya Shellik

Art by Fya Shellik

When Anita and I got outside we walked behind him for a block and she pointed out that he seemed to just float down the sidewalk, he moved so quickly and gracefully. He sort of reminds me of Zillah, from Lost Souls. There was something very vampiric about him… his seductiveness, really. It was sort of surreal—he is what inspires me to come up with my most memorable/intriguing story characters.

[I haven’t read Poppy Z. Brite’s Lost Souls in twenty years, but when I looked up the character—described as androgynous, slender, incredibly beautiful, but also menacing—and then found fan art depicting him, I guess I can see why I made the comparison. And it wouldn’t be for a year or two, but “Berlin” would end up being a character in a future short story.]

I have not even mentioned Clamp’s performance. Well, they had technical problems at first, and then they were ok. They definitely have potential, I’ll say that. Oh and Chad told me tonight that he and Rick decided I’m their #1 fan. How sweet.

If I remember correctly, there were maybe twenty people in the audience for their performance. They were really nice guys, though. 

I was definitely coming into my own and finding a new boldness as a goth, even if my flirting style was on the childish/passive-aggressive side (hey, at least I didn’t pull guys’ hair and then run away).

There is nothing like the feeling of being somewhere you feel you truly belong, and—as corny as it may sound—I have felt than many times at goth clubs, and not many other places I can think of. Of course, those were on the good nights. There were also nights where I felt self-conscious, lonely, dejected, and anxious (because after all, drama sticks to goths like white on rice), but those feelings could be cancelled out by dancing to the right song or meeting the right guy (even if for a fleeting moment) or that greater sense of being part of the cosmic cobweb of the goth scene.

Let’s talk about “Berlin” for a moment. While it was fun chatting with Lanique (who I never called and vice versa), it was the pale-haired man I met later who I found truly mesmerizing. He was one of the most stunning men I had ever seen. In retrospect, I’m surprised I had the nerve to talk to him at all. I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, but I’ll reveal two things: 1. My stupid hearing picked up his name incorrectly. 2. Our paths would cross again, more than once.

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[April, 1996] Near-Death in Alaska

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April 8, 1996

My right hand is sort of jittery, most likely from the Almond Joy latte I’m drinking. I’m writing this from a coffee shop in Alaska. It’s Monday so I’ve been in Eagleton* for a while now. Hm, I can’t even think of where to begin.

The plane got into Anchorage at around 12:20AM and Bradley was there at the gate looking more beautiful than I remembered. It took a while to get my suitcase and find our way out of the airport. Then there were all these presents he hid around the inside of the car for me. He gave me two books (one of which was Poppy Z. Brite’s Wormwood), a cute little black flashlight, a tin of cloves and something else that has to be one of the best presents I ever got.

[Before we get to this magical gift, a note on our face-to-face meeting. I remember the long plane ride from New York, and how about 45 minutes before we landed, I swapped my glasses for contact lenses and put on some make-up to be cute for Bradley. I can even remember what I wore (black jeans and a navy long-sleeved top). My nervousness escalated to the point where everything felt numb. When he greeted me at the gate, we hugged. I think it was a short hug. It definitely wasn’t an epic oh-my-god-let’s-get-married-tomorrow hug. For now, let’s chalk it up to the late hour and travel exaustion. We had a four hour drive ahead of us to Eagleton where he lived.

But back to the presents. He was initially going to hide them along the road, then realized how impossible it would be to find them in the dark (and snow) on the drive back. Here’s the story of that last gift, hidden under the passenger seat.]

He asked me over E-mail what I would put into a cookie, if I could put anything into it. I said cloves, chocolate, powdered sugar (because it makes me smile) and would want the cookie to be star-shaped. So in the glove compartment was a box (a wooden one that he painted himself) filled with cookies. The very ones that I described as my ideal cookie. And they tasted wonderful too (even if they had been crap I would have been touched by the very sentiment).

[To be perfectly frank (and a little lame), my obsession with cloves came from catching whiffs of people smoking them in goth clubs all the time. It was one of my favorite smells in the world, though what would possess me to include it in a cookie is still beyond me.]

The drive to Eagleton was certainly noteworthy. First, we got pulled over for speeding (Brad turns to me saying he was only doing 60 when the cop caught him at 75). After being reassured that this was an extremely rare occurrence (his first speeding ticket, I think) and that he was a very good driver, we kept going.

It was snowing very hard (coming right at us, giving me the illusion of traveling through space at high speed). To briefly sum up the events, we skidded off the road. Probably the most scared I’ve ever been, a shocked denial coursed through me when it happened. Brad turned off the ignition, asked if I was alright and hugged me. It does not end there—it happened again a little while later—even more terrifying this time. He was so apologetic (a bit angry too, because he insisted this was not an accurate example of how he drives). The rest of the ride was fine, good conversation, little music (too distracting in those conditions).

Still from the GnR video. At one point, the model puts her feet in Slash's face, which I think is almost worse than driving them off a cliff.

Still from the GnR video. At one point, the model puts her feet in Slash’s face, which I think is almost worse than driving them off a cliff.

[To this day, this is probably the closest I have come to dying.

We were driving on a mountain road. There was a lot of black ice. If the snowfall outside wasn’t a blizzard, it was pretty damn close to it.

That first skid was bad, but the second could’ve been the end. The car fishtailed and it went down down down an incline. It was such a steep descent, I expected the car to start flipping at any second. I thought of the Guns N’ Roses video where Slash’s hot model girlfriend is fighting with him in a moving car and sharply turns the wheel, sending them over a cliff. I thought, “I’m only 18 years old, I can’t really die now!” And I really didn’t want to die with my last living thoughts being of a Guns N’ Roses video.

But my fear wasn’t far off. When the car came to a stop after that second skid, all I could see ahead of me was snow and darkness. There may have been some trees off to the side. Had it been light out, I would’ve seen we came to a stop less than a foot off the edge of a cliff. (Bradley didn’t share this fun fact with me until much, much later.)]

Ok, I feel like I’m putting in all these irrelevant details, so I’ll talk about the big ones. The cabin, for instance. His brother built it (!) and it’s very small and warm and cozy. There’s just one room with a loft upstairs. A most comfortable loft, too.

I couldn't tell the volcanoes apart form the mountains.

I couldn’t tell the volcanoes apart form the mountains.

[Yes, why delve into “irrelevant details” like, you know, nearly being killed, when I can share vague descriptions about a cabin. Why bother with other pesky specifics about the place, such as its lack of running water and electricity. Or the outhouse, which was the reason one of my gifts was a flashlight. Or the view of snow-covered volcanoes from the picture window that took up nearly an entire wall of the cabin.]

We got to the cabin at around 6:00AM and didn’t leave the loft until about 7:00PM (we were sleeping, talking, lounging around). Went to the Washboard for showers then drove around a bit so Bradley could show me the town.

Most of the last few days have been spent in the cabin (it’s so easy to just stay there because it’s ¼ mile trudge through the snow to get to the car). We’ve talked endlessly (I’ve never laughed so much in my life). Um. I’ll stop here for now.

I won’t stop here. I left out one major aspect of the trip in this entry. Despite all the laughter and great conversation, there was a strange energy between us. A distinct lack of the romantic connection we had created over the previous months through all those letters, phone calls and “E-mails.” I tried to rationalize it as Bradley not wanting to make me uncomfortable by putting the moves on me, but he should’ve known those moves would’ve been welcome. The fact that he hadn’t touched me aside from chaste hugging bothered me, as much as I tried to enjoy the rest of the trip.

I didn’t want to believe that scary near-death ride from the airport was a bad omen. Or the fact that there’s a special word for the time of year I chose to visit Alaska, when the snow turns to mud: “breakup.”

 

 

*Not actual name of town.

[March, 1996] We’re So Happy

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March 21, 1996

It’s hard to keep my hand straight as I write this—no not caffeine, sleep deprivation. Bradley called last night around midnight (I was watching “Hellraiser III,” which wasn’t that great, anyway) and we stayed on the phone all night, until I had to get ready for school. So the 6 1/2 hours or so of sleep I would have gotten was spent on fabulous conversation (something I would prefer over sleep anyway—especially if Bradley is the fabulous conversationalist we’re talking about).

[It’s hard to keep my eyes straight as I type this—no, not caffeine, but the urge to roll them non-stop when I read the above paragraph.]

We brought up little things we love about the way we talk (for example, I love the way he says “how quaint” in a Homer Simpson voice and “hey now” kind of defensively). I said as we were getting off the phone how I thought when I first started talking to him that each conversation would last a week or two. But now it’s become a day to day thing, the more I talk to him, the more I want to. It’s just a constant need to hear his voice (and I don’t think I’m being a pathetic female by saying that. It’s not a feeling of dependence but… well in the most simplest term—love).

[No, I’m not being a pathetic female by saying all that stuff; it’s a feeling of, in the “most simplest” term—annoyance. Look, I can be super lovey-dovey, one of those insufferable “in love with love” people, but even I’m at my limit here. Dear reader, if you are still with me, I promise the diabetic shock levels of sweetness in these entries will taper off, soon. Bear with me a little longer.]

I’ve come to realize that the same person who is capable of making you feel great joy is also capable of the opposite. [<–FORESHADOWING, FORESHADOWING! Dun-dun-DUNNNNNN.] Only in my case, it isn’t anything he does (because thus far he’s shown himself as a glorious human being). It’s when I don’t hear from him that I get the most upset. For example, he mailed me a package over a week ago and my frustration and disappointment at still not having received it is a bit severe.

[I’ll cut my 18-year-old self some slack here, because the package was—oh whatever. Just, no. It was probably some books Bradley sent for me to enjoy on my flight to Alaska, but I was talking to him every few days at this point and would see him in person in just two weeks and everything was just peachy, so I needed to chill.]

Ah, it feels good to get all this out, I should try to bug my friends with less talk about him. Not that I genuinely think they are annoyed by it, but few of my friends have someone so special in their life and it can’t be all that fun listening to someone go on about how happy they are when your current life situation isn’t so… happy. A most appropriate lyric must go here, I hope I’m not misquoting:

The Danse Society. None of these guys looks "all so happy."

The Danse Society. None of these guys look “all so happy.”

“As we call treason treason
A shout, a scream
Into your nightmare
We’re all so happy
We’re all so happy”
–Danse Society

I would hazard a guess that my high school friends were at least mildly irked at my Bradley chatter. Nor do I blame them as I read over these entries years later. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy for 18-year-old me, and I’m glad I recorded some of this for posterity, but to rave about what a fabulous conversationalist and glorious human being he is… come on already. I get it, I get it: I was utterly smitten and wanted to talk to him all the time.

I do still agree that the person capable of making you feel the highest highs can also plunge you into those lowest lows. But for now, I was still riding high, so no need to spoil the party.

So maybe it’s only right that I ended that entry with a song by a goth band that was quite dark despite it’s catchy hook or ironic title (“We’re So Happy”). It was one of my favorite songs of the time, and I probably quoted it because it was in my head, but I did, in fact, misquote it. It’s actually:

“As we call treason treason
Shot, scream
In your nightmare
We’re all so happy”

And it’s not a particularly happy song. I should have remembered the end of the first verse, too, which was, “We’re always loving/We’re always hating.”

[March, 1996] Things to Look Forward To

The exact sticker that's on my journal. Still in good shape, too, unlike the Bauhaus sticker, which is extremely faded. Hm...

The SoM sticker that’s on my journal. Still in good shape, too, unlike the Bauhaus sticker, which is extremely faded. Hm…

As I hurled through my senior year of high school, I filled up the red spiral notebook I had since being forced to keep a journal in my life-changing creative writing class. By that point, I no longer felt coerced into chronicling my life; I did so willingly. I felt life was getting interesting and worth noting for posterity (and, unbeknownst to me then, future blog content).

I got a smaller, 6 1/2×9″ three subject spiral notebook for my next journal. Black, of course. On the front cover are three stickers: Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, and Skin Crawl (an East Village purveyor of gothy accessories; the shop’s logo was a white skeleton). The back cover is covered entirely in Skin Crawl stickers.

March 20, 1996

So tonight is the night I choose to begin my new journal. No quotes to start it off like the last one, just my writing. I like this notebook, its narrowness appeals to me.

[My pretentious attitude toward a notebook I probably paid a couple of bucks for at a drugstore does not appeal to me.]

Ok, on to more important things. Less than 15 days until Alaska. Ugh, I don’t know how I’ll be able to wait (silly thought, I have no choice but to wait, and besides, this will probably be the best thing I ever waited for). While I’ve mostly thought about the wonderful time I will have there, I can’t help but once in a while think about how depressing  it will be to leave (“depressing” even seems too mild a word, but perhaps “tragic” is a bit melodramatic).

[Yes, “perhaps.” Perhaps there’s also some foreshadowing here.]

There are things to look forward to before Alaska, however—namely The Bank this Saturday. A whole big group of us are going (Leon, Jennifer, Ellie and Cynthia—well it’s more people than I usually hang out with all at once). I am the only one with a serious interest in the Goth stuff, the others will dress up however. I will finally get to wear my new black velvet cape. Yay. And my chiffon and velvet black dress, also new—sheesh, I’m such a girl.

Okay, maybe there IS such a thing as too much eye make-up.

Okay, maybe there IS such a thing as too much eye make-up.

A GOTH girl, that is!

A little bit about the way I operate: When I find something I really love, firstly I become deeply obsessive and immersed. I learn everything I can about said thing, collect what I can, etc. Once I have absorbed everything that I can within reason, I become an evangelist and try to get everyone I can to drink my Kool Aid. My U2 obsession was a perfect example of this. First I became hooked on their albums, then I started buying the singles, books, t-shirts, and other memorabilia, and once I felt enough of a U2 expert, I began preaching the gospel. I talked about them non-stop and made numerous U2 mix tapes for people, trying to “convert” them (yes, I used that exact phrasing).

My goth phase was pretty similar, though considerably more intensive and far-reaching. There was the music (which was first and foremost to me) but also literature, fashion, general aesthetics. And the nightlife. I did try to get friends and acquaintances into the music, but it was easier to convince them to go to the club with me. Because, unlike me, most of them weren’t music snobs.

I don’t remember this particular outing, but I do still have photos of us prior to going out, posing in Jennifer’s room, our whiteface make-up blotchy in the flash’s glare. We took exaggerated poses of gloom and despair (hand-to-forehead, that sort of thing). But the best shot was of the group of us posed on the bed, with the rope from her overhead light hanging in front of us looking remarkably like a noose. Good times.

[March, 1996] 17 Days Until Alaska: Or (People in Love Can Be Such Dorks)

Indeed.

Indeed.

3/18/96

17 days until Alaska. Before I talk about him, however, I have to mention something else that happened.

I saw Nisa a couple of days ago after not seeing her in over 4 years. I was a little worried about how we’d get along because I knew we both went through changes (mine a bit more radical). But I had a lovely time with her. I feel like no matter how much we drift apart, I will always come back to her friendship. The years we didn’t keep in touch I never felt really satisfied and thought about her once in a while. It was wonderful seeing her again, I slept over her house on Friday and we spent hours talking.

Nisa was my elementary school best friend. We did hit a rough patch in 6th grade and there was additional tension between our parents when her mother implied I was accepted into Hunter College High School because I was Jewish, and her daughter wasn’t because she was Muslim. Our religious differences never affected our friendship directly, though, but we did drift apart after graduating elementary school. Many of my happiest memories of childhood involve her and the various “imagination games” we would play together, using Barbies or random props around the house (I truly believe that laid the foundation for my becoming a writer). Unfortunately, I never saw her again after that one time as a high school senior. Who knows, maybe our paths will cross again one of these days.

The next day, when I called my mom at work, she told me Brad called the other night at 2:00AM. When I got home I gave him a call (I was worried wondering why he called). It turns out he just really wanted to talk to me (a feeling I frequently get myself, have right now, actually). We spoke for close to 4 hours, the last half hour of which was spent trying to get off the phone (it started when I mentioned how bad I am at ending letters and conversations. He always thinks of strange creative things to write/say and all I can manage is “take care”). But we finally did.

God, people in love can be such dorks.

Today he called again, at 6:30AM (he knows I get ready for school around this time). We only spoke for 15 minutes but it was the best way to wake up. He phoned for two reasons. The first was because he finished Lost Souls (the quickest he read a book—2 days) and loved it (I mailed him a copy).

The other reason was to thank me. See, I kept insisting that he has to write, and he hadn’t in a long time. Now he stated writing again and gives part of the credit to my “nagging” (my word, not his). I just need to make it through these 17 days and then bliss awaits. This could possibly be the best week of my life, I mean these last couple of months I’ve never been happier (I probably have been saying that a lot). Life has been too good. No, not too good because that’s almost like I don’t deserve this joy (and why shouldn’t I or anybody have the right to feel fulfilled—momentarily, anyway).

...

You guys, I’m going to be totally honest. I thought I might end up coming back from Alaska engaged. I mean, I was this guy’s muse, for god’s sake! And we had similar taste in books and music, as well as a penchant for rambling letters and phone conversations. What could possible stand in our way? The bulk of the 48 connected states separating New York and Alaska, you say? Way to be a buzzkill.

This will be my last entry in this notebook, and I think appropriately so (well, actually a better transition would have been to start a new journal after meeting Bradley but alas, at least I am finally completing one notebook. Ready to move on to the next one.

I must end with a quote and the one running through my head is from “Crazy” by Seal:

“Miracles will happen
as we dream…”

Yeah, life seemed pretty miraculous at that point in my life. Either I was about to set flight or crash and burn in a big way. Anybody care to take bets?

And so another journal comes to an end. For once, I was filled with so much happiness, my goth membership card should have surely been revoked.

The back cover of the notebook was covered with purple magic-markered stars and filled with slogans from U2’s Zoo TV tour I wrote in block letters including:
WORK IS THE BLACKMAIL OF SURVIVAL (this one had a thick border around it; me to my teenage self: “You don’t know the half of it.”)
REBELLION IS PACKAGED
RELIGION IS A CLUB
TALK TO STRANGERS
CONTRADICTION IS BALANCE
EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG

And so I would be starting a new journal after trading in all that restless angst for infatuation and what was for me at the time the pinnacle of joy.
Yeah, let’s see how long that lasts.

[January, 1996] You Caught Me at a Bad Time

October 16, 2014 3 comments
Yeah, having a secret crush is nowhere near this cute.

Yeah, having a secret crush is nowhere near this cute.

[A little set-up for this one. A couple of months prior, I decided to tell Nathan, a record store employee, that I had a crush on him… on national television. It never happened, but I continued to toy with the idea of telling him, anyway (as well as confessing I was the one who nearly brought him in front of a studio audience to reveal my feelings). Eventually, common sense lost out and I went to Record Rabbit to tell Nathan the truth. Here’s what happened.]

1/24/96

Bought the new Tori album yesterday (kind of aimless but it will grow on me). The lovely goth boy at Tower sold it to me (still wore that same Bauhaus shirt, even though it was a month later). Seems a bit dead at heart but I’d be thrilled to see him at The Bank.

Ok, main story. Under the circumstances, it went as best as it could have gone. Luckily the store was nearly empty and he was the only one in the front. He said hi, how are you, the usual. Then I started looking around the store. Again it was really awkward.

I was incredibly nervous but knew I had to do it. So I went up to the counter with a couple of postcards and said “you probably suspected it, but I was the one who called the show.” He looked puzzled for a second. “The talk show.”

Then he said “that was you? That was you? Aw.” (like the way one would say “aw, how sweet”). “That was really you?”

I replied “how else would I know about it?” and he realized it was me.

He said “I thought it was a joke.”

“No, it wasn’t.”

“That is just the biggest compliment…”

I told him I knew about the girlfriend and he said “you caught me at a bad time” (I think he may have said that a couple of times). Those words made this whole ordeal worth it. It means there’s hope (damn the girlfriend). It also means there is no closure. But after I confessed, we started talking about the Cure and things were back to “normal.”

He was just so sweet about the whole thing. It’s not over, either. I still have a chance. Eight months, it will never end (ah, melodrama).

I think I what I love most about this entry is how I refer to it as an “ordeal” as if it was something that I was being put through instead of orchestrating it myself from start to finish. All that melodrama was my sole doing, the “torment” self-inflicted.

For all my wackiness and emotional grandiosity, and for all my foolishness thinking I still had a chance with Nathan, I was right about one thing. It wasn’t over. Our paths would cross again, more than once in the coming years, in a couple of unexpected ways.

In the meantime, I’d have other boys to occupy my obsessive soul, some more “dead at heart” than others.

...

Speaking of obsessive (when aren’t I?) after Tori Amos’s third album, Boys for Pele, my passion for her music was beginning to wane a bit. Part of it had to do with the fact I was developing a taste for darker bands, which were predominantly fronted by broody men (Bauhaus, Christian Death, Rosetta Stone, Nosferatu, etc.). Another part of it was that her music was becoming gradually less personal to me. The first two albums shot a bullseye into my heart, with numerous songs that spoke directly to me, but this one veered to the outer edges of the target. And it was so long I could rarely make it through the entire thing, especially because I owned it on cassette and it wasn’t as easy to skip the songs I didn’t like. It did grow on me, though, and “Putting the Damage On” was my anthem for at least one major heartache.

Unfortunately, my freshman year at college would do further damage to my Tori love. But we’re not there yet.

[January, 1996] Unhappy Birthday

Image by © Solus-Veer/Corbis

Image by © Solus-Veer/Corbis

1/22/96

Brad still hasn’t written. I figure I’ll give him until the end of the month and then I’ll send the tape back with a “hope you got my letter” note. Katie mailed my postcard to Tim (w/the Smiths quote “You’re evil and you lie and if you should ever die I may feel slightly sad but I won’t cry”). I hate Tim. Very much. Suicide is really the only acceptable excuse. So Tim is dead. Or else I would have heard from him.

I feel restless. I’ve been that way a lot lately (lately meaning the last few years). I’m sitting next to Jim, who’s pissed that I never mentioned him in my journal. There, now he can’t complain. I’m going to go off and try to be creative now.

Wow, crabby much?

Let me explain the Tim situation. It’s probably not going to make me look like a less horrible person but a girl can try. Tim was a pen pal with great music taste, depressive tendencies and something of a muse to me. And of course I had a crush on him, because who had two thumbs and a weakness for gloomy goth boys in need of saving? This gal. (Still have the thumbs but grew out of the other thing, to an extent.) Tim and I traded letters and mix tapes and phone calls, and then he got a girlfriend and wasn’t so depressed anymore. Then I briefly visited him and we resumed our correspondence—and then he fell off the radar.

Which happens. I lost touch with pen pals all the time. At one point, in my mid-teens, I had as many as fifteen at a time, but then I started going to concerts and parties and the Village and had less time for letters. Had a boyfriend been thrown into the mix, I’m sure I’d barely have any pen pals left. But I thought the friendship Tim and I had was special. So I was particularly stung when months went by with no word from him. Especially when I traveled hundreds of miles to visit him. And then I became angry. Not that it’s any excuse for what I did next.

I decided to send Tim an anonymous postcard for his birthday, quoting “Unhappy Birthday” by The Smiths. I don’t think I went as all-out creepy as to make it look like a ransom note, I think I typed the lyrics (which I’d gauge as only medium creepy). But then I had a pen pal who lived in another state mail the postcard so Tim wouldn’t suspect it came from me in NYC (which probably takes us back up to all-out creepy). Who knows, maybe Katie never mailed the thing and Tim never received my ill wishes. Or maybe he did and laughed it off, since he was used to mean-spiritedness from living in a backwoods, small-minded town.

Either way, I feel terrible about it to this day and even worse that I would be so flippant about suicide and his possible death. But he has a profile on Facebook, so at least I can rest easy knowing he wasn’t driven to off himself by an anonymous nasty postcard. And who knows, maybe my crush on Tim was obvious and made him uncomfortable. Maybe after the visit he had enough of me, or maybe his girlfriend wasn’t cool with the correspondence (Because he kinda had a crush on me too? Haha, yeah, right.). Whatever the reason, I like to think I’m a bit more easygoing about that sort of thing nowadays. Or at least less vindictive (and yes, creepy).       

At least I wasn’t feeling such vitriol towards Brad (with whom I had the meet-cute encounter the day after my 18th birthday). There was plenty of time to set unrealistic expectations and end up disappointed on that front…