Normally, even though sometimes it doesn’t look like it, I really do try to be reasoned and not get too into some of my heavier emotions on here. Anger is okay, some regret, empathy definitely… but I try not to dwell in sadness. I’m sure it creeps up, but I don’t want to dwell. Now, however, I am in mourning.
My friend Stevie died.
She didn’t JUST die… actually she died a year and a half ago. I just found out like an hour ago. The last time I’d written her was the summer of 2004, I think. I never got a response. I wrote again months later, then in 2005. She had an account on tribe.net that she had not updated in forever. I couldn’t figure out if I’d inadvertently pissed her off. She was quite the traveler, so I figured maybe she was training tigers again, or off on one of her other crazy adventures. Today, randomly thinking about her once again, I googled her name and found a R.I.P. next to it.
A little history, and I apologize if this comes across as rambling.
Impaled was on tour in the summer of 2001 with Vader and Skinless. It was a pretty rad tour, and miserable at the same time. It was an odd time as one of the other members and I were having a falling out. While our friendship mended and lasted, the band relationship didn’t.
In any case, we had a night off and were set to pass about an hour north of New Orleans. I looked at the map, and I told the driver he was nuts if he thought we could pass up a night in New Orleans. So off we went. So did all the other bands, it turned out.
I ended up getting absolutely ripped at this one bar. There were two emcees there, one boy and one girl. We ran into Skinless, and I remember talking to Noah about how hot the girl was. Absolutely lusciously beautiful with a rear we couldn’t stop talking about. Of course, she was working, and as Sean has always told me, you can’t peel the bartender, i.e. you can’t pick up on someone working. I proceeded to drink, get stupid, dance, pick up on girls I had no chance with, puke, etc.
At some point, I really hated life. I’d already puked and was drinking more. This was at a point when I had the most enormous crush on this one girl, and I had written her everyday during tour. It seemed like folly. When I was drunk and at that moment walking around the French Quarter, my whole life seemed like folly. I probably had gotten into an argument with our guitarist. I did a lot on that tour. Sherwood from Skinless found me and bought me one of those grenade drinks. It was uncommonly tender moment from him. I probably looked about as pissed off and hateful as I felt. At some point, he led me back to the bar I’d started at, and there was Raul talking to the emcee, and we somehow decided to head to another bar with her.
Here I don’t know what happened. The group got lost, and it was just me and this emcee girl entering this other bar. She described herself as French Quarter royalty, and sure enough, got us some free drinks like a Queen. Not only that, I found out she was only 20, and no one cared, ’cause somehow, she could just do things like that. I found out her name was Stevie.
She soothed me somehow, just talking. I think I play it off a lot, but I’m sure a lot of my friends know I can be really moody. I don’t know what she saw in me, or what she was thinking, but she decided to become my guardian angel that night. She “kidnapped” me, as she put it. We took off in her truck, away from the tour. She took my broke ass and bought me cigarettes. I could hardly walk at this point, mind you. She took us to the side of a river, and we chatted all night long. She told me about the graves in New Orleans, how she used to be goth and had to dress “shamefully” as a bar emcee (she looked gorgeous). We ended up kissing under the moon.
Eventually, as dawn was set to break, I had to go back to the smelly tour bus. We exchanged information and parted ways.
I exchanged a lot of emails with Stevie. She was there for me and listened to my griping through a fairly tumultuous relationship. I hear about her crazy travels from New Orleans, to Floridian Renne Faires, juggling, absolutely insane shit. I always told her I was jealous of someone with such freedom of life. She offered to be my angel again, anytime I wanted, and come and save me whenever I was down. I kept a picture of her that got me into a LOT of trouble. I couldn’t help it, though… she was just a dear, good person that meant a lot to me.
We corresponded for a long time, sometimes intermittently, sometimes more frequently. I’d told her she would always, always have a place to stay with me if she ever came to the Bay Area. Then, in 2002, she and a friend showed up. It was right after Burning Man. There was just one problem… the girl I’d had a crush on? I’d managed to get her to be my girlfriend. And she still had a letter I sent her about the “amazing girl” I’d met in New Orleans saved. And to top it off, after one of our infamous break-up/reconciliations about a year earlier, she’d found that picture of Stevie I had on my desk at work. That was really, really dumb.
My girlfriend would have none of it. I was to have Stevie nowhere near me, let alone staying at my house. Stevie couldn’t understand. She said, “Bring her over! I’ll show her I’m cool… we can play Monopoly till the sun comes up.” No go. It was bad. I felt so bad. Now, I have to feel worse, because to expunge this all from my soul, I have to confess to my girlfriend at the time, who is likely to read this, that I lied to you. I apologize. I allowed her to stay at my house. That was it. I stayed at my girlfriend’s, and Stevie and her friend stayed at my house. When I needed to be back home with my girlfriend, they stayed at my friend’s house, to whom I’m forever grateful towards. I spent some time with Stevie, but only as the pussy-whipped jerk that had to go back on his word of being a hospitable host.
Needless to say, our quality time was not quality. It sucked. Still, though, she cared. She didn’t like the situation, but respected what was going on. She told me before she left that if I ever had things different, or if I needed to be “kidnapped” again, to call her. She told me she meant it.
We wrote and talked. She was there when my life felt like it had lost all meaning. She lent support. She was just there.
Then, two years after I’d met her, she was coming out to the Bay Area again from Burning Man. She came at the strangest times… I wasn’t very happy in 2003. I’d lost the girl, another band member, and just moved into a house I thought I hated. She showed up, her truck covered in dust from the playa, with two gifts… a dirty bike, and a scorpion we named Fuck Frankie. Some of my friends have met that scorpion. He’s still an angry little fuckwad on my shelf. I know he hates me (scorpions hate everything) but I love him a lot right now.
We watched him eat for the first time, his little head opening up and swallowing a cricket whole. It was awesome.
She was gonna crash at my pad for two weeks and look for a place to live. All her stuff was in her truck and we moved it into my room. She was so beautiful, it’s hard to describe, and so vibrant. She taught me the rudiments of surface juggling, like David Bowie does in Labyrinth. She told me about helping to train tigers, learning to sword swallow, just crazy, intensely crazy stuff. We went to Folsom St. Fair where she broke a paddle across this hapless guy’s ass. Everyone wanted a picture with her. She was my gypsy, I told her. It was inevitable, we told each other. We ended up making incredibly passionate love and holding each other tightly.
This was an awkward time to say the least. I hated my brother, I hated the house I lived in, I hated the bands I played in, and I hated my friends. A girl I’d been casually dating had her heart elsewhere. Stevie was so ready to be my angel again. She cooked, she cleaned, she even tried to be super nice to my family. I wasn’t ready for it. Things were too tumultuous in my head. One night after I thought she’d been doing nothing to find her own place, I was really mean to her. When she asked what was wrong, I told her I didn’t sign on for a wife. She left as I chased her car down the street.
The next day, she came while I was at work and got all her things. I felt terrible. I felt even worse when I called her and found out all her things had been stolen from her truck. Everything. That was her life in there. I finally went to where she was staying. She’d decided to head home to Connecticut until she could get her bearings back. I held her as she cried and she asked me why. I wish I had an answer, even now.
As we parted ways, despite the turmoil, she told me again she’d always be there for me, whenever I needed her. She would rescue me from anything and take me away. I knew she meant it, too.
We continued to correspond and maintained our friendship. I spoke to her on the phone while she spent the holidays in her mother’s house in Connecticut. We emailed sporadically, again. When I got a new girlfriend, she told me that girl had better treat me right, or she’d take care of her. I too wanted her to find someone beautiful that made her happy. We had a good bond.
She was again going to go and work at Burning Man again, and possibly would come out and visit. That was the last email I got. I never heard from her again. I wrote a few times more, but nothing.
April 2005…It’s been so long since last I wrote you and no reply…
I just wanted to send you a note to let you know you were in my thoughts and I hope everything is going super-duper awesome for you.
Now I’m looking at a memorial website to her, set up more than year ago. Apparently, she did find someone at that last Burning Man, and that is good. She looks really happy in all these photos. I understand why she never wrote back. She loved the desert, and that’s where she said her last goodbyes. Of course she would’ve written back if she could’ve. She never would have let me down. She was an angel.
Much love to you, Stevie. Thanks for touching my life.