When I was 12 or 13, my parents knew a younger guy in the golf scene. His girlfriend was this flawless beauty. She ran a clothing shop out of La Paloma called Sutton’s. Everything about her was effortlessly cool. Even her handwriting.
She sent my mom a card on business stationary once. The script was confident but not forced. I was never going to be blonde or tan like her. But I could write like her, I figured.
I snuck the card into my room and practiced writing the whole thing out. I’m left-handed and went to school in the U.S. When I was a kid our teachers had us write in pencil. So I smudged everything. I had goofy left-handed writing that matched every other goofy thing about me. I needed that to change.
I copied that letter over and over until I could do it without thinking. I did it without anyone telling me to or how it even was important. I couldn’t put that level of concentration into anything else because I didn’t have any private space. I shared a bedroom with two sisters. When I wasn’t at home I was at school. My freedom and desire had to go inward and live inside a place nobody else would get to see or taint.
I can’t imagine that this woman would ever know how much that card meant to me. I wasn’t the intended recipient. It was aspirational. It was hopeful. It told me that something beyond the world I faced every day was possible. It kept me going when everyone around me was wrapped up in things I didn’t care about. She was my Ramones.