A couple months ago, my dear friend
Jen—former HG cohort, Lahaina bartender, Sugar Shack roomie and owner
of the electric-green purse on fire—moved back home. She hadn’t been
back to the East Coast for nearly 12 years, but was excited about
making a new life for herself and her boyfriend in Pennsylvania. Here
are a few of her recent letters to me…
Oct. 11, 2006
Shane and I are bored stiff—only five more days until we move into
our freshly remodeled pad. I’ve recently become addicted to live
auctions. It’s like gambling, except that you always go home with
something! I’ve gotten cool antiques to outfit our apartment—sometimes
things need a little work so it’s keeping us busy. Staining, painting,
sanding, clamping… I’m turning into my mother more with every day that
passes. Frankly, I’m a little concerned.
Once again I’ve imbibed way too much coffee—when will I learn? Tell
me something cool you’ve done, I’m bored. Hopefully I’ll have some
stories myself when we finally reach our destination—the promise
land—Philadelphia. I need some bizarre things to happen, I’ve fallen
behind. No doubt they will start once I reach Mecca.
Please send me shit, email is my only entertainment, except when I
pull pranks on Shane, he’s so easy! It’s so discouraging when I check
and there is nothing sent from my contacts, considering I check on
average six times a day. Not likely, huh? I’ve become quite the
computer nerd—thought you’d never hear me type that in my lifetime.
Okay I’m done babbling, I guess I’ll smoke another cigarette—oh yeah,
quitting is going real well. Send my love and hugs…
Oct. 15: Hey, tomorrow is the big day. I’m nervous as hell. Leave it
to me to worry about just about anything. It’s just getting from point
A to point B that worries me. I’m a loon. I need a Valium or a Vicodin
or something. How are things in your world? I’m not sure I’ll ever get
used to this time change thing. Someone shoot me clear into Tuesday or
something. I guess I’ll go grab another beer and pace around some more.
Do you know that feeling when you’re just tired of being you? When
you just need some time to breathe and realize how retarded you are,
then go back with a clear focus? This is one of those times, not to be
Debbie Rigatoni [an alias], but to be Jessica Livingston. Jessica’s got
her head on straight and is walking on a clear path to success. Jessica
is dressed to kill and her hair is not frizzy. She showers regularly
and smells of roses. I think that just creating her has somehow helped…
nope, I’m back again—drats! I’m losing it. So I love you, I know that
for sure even if everything else is a little fuzzy. Have a blissful day
and pray that I make it through tomorrow in one piece (mind and body).
I bid you adieu…
Nov. 9: I got the job at BCBG, only part-time but whatever, it’s
something for right now. I’m still working on beefing up my resume. I’m
going to start volunteering at the art museums. Just to get myself in a
productive atmosphere and to get out and meet people. Anything is
better than sitting alone and watching CSI for the umpteenth time.
My dad is taking the train in tomorrow and spending the day and then
my mom is coming down on Monday to have lunch. Those are the main
reasons I moved home—day trips of that kind. Money is going to be real
tight for a while. I’m not used to living paycheck-to-paycheck, and not
a very big paycheck for that matter.
I don’t feel like it was a mistake at all, but my self-esteem is
slipping. My confidence needs to build back up. All in due time I
suppose. Love and miss you lots…
Nov. 13: Hey there, chica! I started my new job. It looks like I may
actually enjoy shopping for other people, especially with their money.
Shane just got a job with Chevy and no longer has to wait tables. Can
you believe it? I’m dating a car salesman! Who knew?
It’s constantly raining here and I am without rain gear. It’s next
on my list of things I need. Oh, the other day Shane and I went
shopping in the Italian Market—you know that street that Rocky [Balboa]
runs down when he is training? Well, it was too cool. We got all this
fresh fruit and veggies for way cheap and then we went to the butcher’s
and they ground our meat right there.
The fish market was awesome—fresh everything—one good thing about
living in a port city. I just got such a kick out of it, and it’s
rather close to our apartment. We’re learning to work the city for all
it has to offer. It’s just taking a little time. Still have to make it
to the museums. I just want to wait until it stops raining—traveling in
that shit, especially by bus, is the pits. My umbrella has gotten
turned inside out I can’t tell you how many times. Embarrassing. Ah,
Dec. 5: The weather is getting much colder and my apartment is
getting lonelier. Shane’s at work and it’s me and Regis, Kelly and
Rachel Ray. Work in the commission world is dog-eat-dog. I’m not really
enjoying that aspect and, of course, I want more. Always. I forgot how
hard moving is until you get settled.
Everything is great between Shane and I. It’s just hard when you
have to be everything to one another. I don’t know what I want or what
would make me feel better. Maybe a couple hours with you would do the
trick. Lunch, a cheeseburger, a beer and a cigarette—ah, the makings of
a good afternoon! Some conversation with a friend, a knowing and
understanding glance, a hug.
I’ve been painting, it’s been nice. I’m sort of revisiting the
person I left behind in Pennsylvania. All the things that I used to do
here that made me happy and made me who I was; all the things I haven’t
done since I left this state, I am revisiting.
Why did I leave them behind, why do I constantly feel the need to
reinvent myself? I feel like I’m just going in circles, running over
the same old ground, stupid. What is it that I’m looking for that I
haven’t found? Or has it always been there and I’ve just refused to
notice it, accept it? I miss your smell… you forget the little things
like that until they’re gone and maybe that’s why I moved back here—I
missed the smell of the East.
Well, I’ve got to go back out into the cold and go home and get
ready for work. We dress in all black, like a funeral, isn’t that
fitting. Sorry to be so sad, I just needed to tell someone who knew me
what I was feeling. Tomorrow is another day and another chance to turn
it all around. Love you terribly… Jennifer
Samantha Campos has only been incarcerated twice but all three times was absolutely innocent. MTW