The 18 Year Lap

I have a story so strange I am not sure how to tell it. It involves a quest to find my first true love, my first college road trip, and Terry the Human Wrecking Ball.

It is a story so odd that I find myself incapable of determining where it begins and where it ends. As the Wrecking Ball said, it feels like meeting yourself coming and going, or something like that.

The year was 1984 and I had a girlfriend, Jennifer. Her sequined, brace-covered teeth reflected the lights of the roller rink as we held hands and skated to Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. It was our song. I had a girl, and we had a song, and those were the days.

By 1989 I was a freshman in college and Jennifer was gone, a shining and chaste memory slightly tarnished by a string of other girlfriends, other braces. My heart had like, totally eclipsed-until I received her letter.

Baton Rouge was great, she was a freshman too, she still thought of me. Did I still think about her? As the plastic hearts and spangles spilled across her words and the air filled with the scent of her perfume Le Jardin-spritzed across each page of a letter with the heft of a Sunday paper- “Yes! Yes I still think of you too”, I told myself. We were in love were we not?

But how to get to Baton Rouge, Louisiana? I was already as far away from home as I had ever gotten myself. This was going to take some work, and I was a young man poorly connected, but my big sister- Libblyllama- she was a Senior and she knew a thing or two.

Within a few weeks I was rolling on I-10, deep into a part of the South I had never seen before, with people whom I had never met before, except for John K, my connection. I was rolling with THE REIGN and they had a gig in Baton Rouge. Swept up in the romance of my tale, they had agreed to carry me right to the doors of Jennifer’s dorm, then they were off to play a gig at a frat house. The future looked bright for all of us.

And now I begin to lose the flavor of the journey, the essence of this story, which ended- or did it begin– just yesterday, 18 years down the trail.

Please be patient as I collect my thoughts, they are littered across the years.


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