BandGeeksAreHot: I play guitar
PrincessCoolerThanYou: I'm sure that helps you get laid
BandGeeksAreHot: It doesn't hurt. LOL. What's your story? ASL?
PrincessCoolerThanYou: 17. F. TN. What story?
BandGeeksAreHot: I play in a band. I'm 18. I live in TX. I have a girlfriend. You know, that's my story. What's yours?
PrincessCoolerThanYou: I don't play any musical instrument but I sing in the car and sometimes the shower. I don't have a girlfriend.
BandGeeksAreHot: Wow. You're a bitch. Sorry to try to be nice. Later.
That's how we 'met.' He signed off right after he sent that last message, and I was fuming mad. I mumbled a string of curse words at the computer as I made sure I put his name on my contact list, so if he ever was online again I could go off on him. Yep. Go off on him, a virtual stranger, so calling me a bitch in an instant message.
Over the next year, I became really close to Josh Hudson. Well, I mean, I never met him. We started out chatting online, and over time we exchanged numbers. We started talking on the phone and texting, nearly every day.
I was starting my senior year of high school when he first called me a bitch. He'd just finished his senior year, and he was going to a local college while trying to actually make a go of it with his band.
"What's wrong with you Callen? You're freaking me out. You haven't answered your phone in like a week. Call me back." Josh's message just got deleted along with all the rest of the voice mails and texts I got. I felt guilty for being a bitch to him, again, but I just didn't want to deal with anyone yet.
Instead, I pulled out my books and plopped down on my bed to study for the finals that were coming up. Stupid fucking asshole Stephen couldn't wait two more weeks to dump me after finals were over?! Ugh!
Less than half an hour later, my phone rang again. I ignored it and it rang again. After repeating that process ten times, literally, I answered it with an angry bark.
"Wow, Cal, where's the love?" Josh's mumbly Southern drawl made my insides warm. I smiled slightly, despite my irritation.
"Sorry Joshy pie. It's just been a rough… few days." I couldn't help the tears that pooled in my eyes, and my voice distorted enough for him to know I was crying.
"Cal? Baby what happened?"
"He dumped me." I felt so sad all of a sudden, again. I thought I'd moved past bawling like a fool. I was pretty much comfortable in anger at the time.
What? "What the hell?"
"Cal, that guy was a dick. And you can do better."
"Oh really Josh? I can do better? Is that an offer?" We'd skirted around the whole 'definition' of our relationship, for three years.
Josh had gone through several girlfriends, one of which last almost a year. I'd made it through my Senior year of high school and my freshman year of college, dating a few guys casually and holding on to a couple long enough to call them 'boyfriend.' Stephen had lasted eight months. I felt like the only twenty year old virgin left in the world, but I just wasn't ready to take that step with Stephen. He got tired of waiting. I didn't have to tell Josh that's why he dumped me. He just knew.
"Callen…" He had the same tone of voice he always had when I brought it up. He didn't want to talk about it. He didn't want to define anything. He must have been happy about what we had.
"Forget it. Sorry. I need to study Josh. I'll call you in a few days." I sighed to myself but he heard me.
"Don't call me that Joshua!"
"Don't act like it then!"
"You fucking asshole!"
"You stupid bitch!"
I hung up immediately after that. That was his goal. I mean, sure, I was acting like a bitch. And if anyone else had called me that, I wouldn't have really noticed. But Josh and I had an understanding of sorts. After the first conversation, he didn't get away with calling me a bitch anymore.
I waited for him to call back with an apology. And I'd apologize too. But he didn't call back. And, stubborn as I was, I wouldn't call him back.
I finished my finals and started packing to go back home for Christmas. I let the rental office know I'd be gone, and they assured me they'd keep an eye on things.
I hung around the apartment for a few days after my last final, cleaning and getting things ready for me to leave. I also did some shipping around town. I had tons of friends, and I spent several hours writing cards to send out. Josh wasn't the only friend I had that I'd never met in person. I had Christmas cards going all over the country. But I wrote Josh's last. I hadn't spoken to him since he hung up on me two and half weeks earlier, but I still sent his card, which I'd filled completely including the back with all sorts of dribble. I covered the envelope with stickers and dropped it in the mail on my way out of town.
I called Josh as I drove home, but it went straight to his voice mail.
I was home with my family for Christmas and New Years. My brother Mike proposed to his long-time girlfriend Sarah, and we were all over the moon excited about it. My Mom got my Dad a new puppy for Christmas, since our family dog had died earlier in the year. I got a ton of clothes and an amazing new digital camera. We all ate a ton of food and overall enjoyed a greeting-card-quality holiday. I spent as much time with my friends from home as I could, and the time to go back to school came way too quickly.
"Callie, you don't have to go back yet, do you?"
"Yes, Daddy, I do. Classes start in less than a week, and I have to get settled in and buy books and all that. I'll be back before you know it. I love you Daddy." I hugged him tightly, for the twentieth time, and hurried to my car to drive away before the tears fell. I hated letting them see me cry, which happened every time I had to leave them.
The drive back to school was long, and it gave me too much time to think. I thought about conversations I'd had with friends and family over break, including a poignant conversation with Stephen in which he informed me he'd slept with one of my best friends, before we broke up, which was actually the reason he dumped me. He told me he felt guilty and needed to get it off his chest. Asshole.
My thoughts wandered to Josh, too. I had been over a month since I'd had any form of communication with him. It was like he just fell off the earth. I tried to call him again, but the number was disconnected. I freaked out a bit, to be honest. I mean, in the years that I'd known him, he was the one I told everything to. He knew me better than anyone.
My mind wandered again to a song he'd written for me. When he'd played it for me, it was just him on his guitar. He hummed along, but there weren't any words yet. He said he was still working on the words. I could only vaguely remember the song, but I re-played the parts I knew over and over in my head.
I missed him. I missed Josh way more than I ever would have imagined.
When I got back to my apartment, I set to work on getting things straight and in order for the New Year and the new semester. After relieving my very full bladder, I unloaded my very full car. The kitchen was full of food, wrapped and packaged with love by my mother and grandmothers. The couch was piled high with a mountain of boxes and suitcases stuffed to the gills with clothes.
After stuffing my clothes anywhere I could find a place, I grabbed my phone to call some friends to do something. Too bad it was dead. I plugged it in to charge and walked down to let the rental office know I was back. I checked my mail while I was there, and I groaned at how much crap had been crammed into my tiny mailbox.
I didn't sort through the pile until I got back to my apartment. I tossed the junk mail into my recycle box, and started opening the letters. Mostly, Christmas cards that had come after I left. Except for one. The card I'd sent to Josh was back, undeliverable, with a stamp indicating that he no longer lived at that address.
I pulled out my laptop and tried to send him an email. It was returned as well.
Whatever happened, I had no way to contact him. It made my heart sink.
Over the next year, I dated a few guys, nothing serious. I volunteered at an animal shelter and went to football games. I made new friends and lost some old ones. I took a cake decorating class and learned to actually use my nifty new camera. I more or less forgot the song that Josh had written for me. Actually, I thought less and less of Josh at all, until he was just a distant memory that rarely reared its ugly head.
Wow. Ugly and Josh in the same thought? Not normal. Josh was the opposite of ugly. I had numerous pictures, both digital and tangible. He'd sent me several in his letters, as I'd done for him. I had them tucked into a box of random mementos under my bed. I just left them there, mixing with other old memories.
By the time I was driving back home for Christmas again, I'd more or less stopped thinking about Josh at all. I was scrolling through the radio stations, trying to find something to listen to.
"I'm so glad you're coming home with me!" I said excitedly, again, to my best friend Rachel.
"Me too! I can't even imagine what my moronic parents were thinking. I mean, I'm all for travel, but who the hell goes to Cambodia for Christmas? Ugh. Besides, your cousin Seth is so fucking hot."
"That is sick. He's a child!"
"He's 19 hunnie bunches. That's legal in all fifty states."
"You're such a freak…." I trailed off as the song n the radio caught my attention I turned up the volume to listen to it more, shushing Rachel when she started to blabber on about screwing Seth on top of my dad's tractor. The song…
"What the hell is wrong with you?"
"Who is this?" I pointed at the radio like the bad was actually crammed into it.
"You'd know if you weren't such a radio snob. It's this new band called… umm… 35 Rockets, yeah, that's it. This song has just exploded. It's everywhere. It's just like 'Hey Delilah' except, you know, less sucky."
"I like that song! And this sounds nothing like it."
"No, I meant, it's just like everywhere. All of a sudden, it's on commercials and TV shows and it's on every radio station every five seconds. I love it but I'll probably hate it soon."
"What's the name of the song?"
"Umm…. Divine Providence… I think? Why are you freaking out about this?"
"I don't know, I just… it sounds familiar. I probably heard it on TV or something. It's nice."
The conversation shifted back to Seth, then morphed into other more pleasant topics. Having Rachel in the car made the ride not seem so long, but that song was nagging me and I instantly felt the need to call Joshua.
When we stopped to get some food and coffee, I waited for Rachel to go into the bathroom before I pulled my phone out. I dialed the number I still had for Josh, just in case.
"Umm… is… Josh?" I wasn't sure. The voice sounded vaguely familiar, but then, not. The phone disconnected and I frowned. What the… Rachel came back and we got back on the road.
The holidays were amazing like they always are. Rachel was depressed to discover that Seth had a girlfriend that he was crazy about, but her depression didn't last long, as she found some other hot guy at the local bar to flirt with all break. We all had a ton of presents and great food and great fun.
I heard the song hundreds of times while I was home, and every time I did it nagged at my brain. I knew it. It was my song. I just knew it was.
When I finally got back to my apartment, I pulled my laptop out instantly and started trying to find out information about the band.
35 Rockets is a Houston-based band that exploded onto the mainstream music scene with their colossal hit 'Divine Providence.' Formerly known as Dexter's Garage, the quartet has been playing together since they were in junior high school. Lead singer Todd Jenkins, guitarist Josh Hudson, bassist Maddox Simone, and drummer Nate Sexton are starting their first headline tour in January in Chicago. Check their website for tour dates and locations.