Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The band

In high school, I played drums in a rock band. We were three girls (me, D and A) with old instruments, taking our best shot at "Smoke on the Water" in a scummy practice studio. It was great fun.

The building with the practice studio was completely ridiculous. It was a run down building with loft size spaces up five flights of stairs. There may have been an elevator, I don't remember. There were walls of rusty exposed pipes, and everything was covered in black paint. The restroom I recall vividly - because it wasn't really a room. It was an open, dark hallway with a dirty seat-less toilet smack in the center. A bare bulb swung from a cord about 15 feet above my head while I did my business (and you can be sure I did it really, really fast in that place).

The practice rooms themselves were pretty good, although I wouldn't go so far as to call them 'nice'. Most of them had usable drum kits (again, not 'nice'), they all had amps and mic stands, and for $10 an hour I could make as much noise as I wanted. I could do paradiddles for half an hour, badly, and nobody would mind. I could pretend to be Larry Mullen, Jr., or Ringo Starr, and it felt real.


We started meeting there for our practice sessions. After some of our sessions, we would all go back to A's place (she was our guitarist) and hang out. We could talk about our insecurities, dream about the bands (and guys) we liked, and revel in how amazing it felt to take off our bras at day's end and just be sweaty chicks.

One time, we were walking back to A's place when our bassist D cornered me. She wanted to tell me her story. I couldn't believe her at first, because her life was so different than any life I'd known.

Her family hated her, she said. "They want to kick me out. I don't do drugs, but they keep accusing me." I asked her why and she said she didn't know. Then she said, "Sometimes I feel like I'm not myself. It's like I blackout, and have these missing times where I don't know what's happened for hours."

I thought about how well I knew her. Did I think she did drugs? Did I think they were falsely accusing her? Should I be the supportive friend? She was clearly upset, and when I didn't immediately say anything she said, "Never mind, forget it." and skipped ahead to talk to A.

Back at A's place, after sitting on the floor and chatting for a bit I saw that some of A's left arm was covered in little marks. They looked like scars. She saw me looking and said, "Sometimes I cut myself, y'know? No big deal."

D rolled up her sleeve. "Yeah, me too." they looked at each other and laughed. It blew my tiny teenage mind. I was scared, and confused. Who does that? Who hurts themselves on purpose, and then laughs about it?

I must have had a crazy look on my face, or how I acted the rest of that night threw them off, because a week later they kicked me out of the band.


Now I wonder what happened to them, and where their lives took them.


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