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A Little Black Spot on the Sun Today

April 1, 2016

A few weeks back, a piece by a music blogger I follow about the album Synchronicity by The Police started me down an unexpected path of nostalgia, sadness, and finally, hope.  I haven’t owned the album since the late 1990s when I foolishly gave away all my cassettes in a crazed fit of downsizing, but its unique, fleeting place in a wonderfully clumsy moment of my life came crashing back in waves as I read the post.

The Police - Synchronicity

When Synchronicity came out in the summer of 1983, I was in the final months of apprehensive preparation to leave everything I knew behind to journey to a foreign land and save souls as a full-time Mormon missionary.  At the same time, I was enjoying a new and exciting teen romance with Kris, a non-Mormon girl I had met while “dragging the boulevard” that hot Utah summer.  Kris had actually first dated my best friend Scott and only traded down to me when that relationship failed to launch; all was good however given that I likewise had been dating her friend Lisa while she was with Scott.  Time spent with Kris was glorious.  For reasons lost to time, we declared Synchronicity “ours” and listened to it constantly when we were together.

Then came September and my withdrawal into God’s work. Kris sent me off with a beautifully hand-written card with the words from “Every Breath You Take.”  In contradiction to that song’s lyric however, distance and absence subsequently asserted themselves to prove it was us we could replace after all; every bond you break, every smile you fake.  I only ever saw Kris once after my return from missionary service in 1985 and knew little of her later life.

So, after reading the mentioned blog post on Synchronicity, I decided to, you know, what the hell, google Kris.  The very first hit was, sadly, an obituary: Kris passed away “unexpectedly” in early 2015 at age 49.  Damn…

I wrote to my friend Scott, with whom I’d allowed communication to lag over recent years, to share the sad news.  It turned out that he had already known.  Moreover, unlike Facebook-disabled me, he actually knew something of her life in the post-Synchronicity decades.  Scott told me:

…she posted a lot and then nothing for long time.  I looked up her account wondering if she dropped me because of my right wing posts (she was a huge lib, you would have gotten along well….smile) and read all the postings and was shocked.  Nobody mentioned what happened, I have no idea, she was so happy and doing things with her friends and positive and going on lots of trips.

A happy “huge lib” doing things with her friends, positive and going on lots of trips – Good for you, Kris!  I sincerely hope it’s even more of the same for you now, wherever your journey has taken you.

——————————————————-

What follows is the story of the brief intersection of Kris’s and my own paths as told in excerpts from the journal I kept as a missionary way back then.  As a set of discrete, one-sided snapshots, it is fair to neither of us, being inevitably weighed down by the over-wrought drama of teenage insecurity.  It is real though, and I offer it as a meager eulogy to someone who played a beautiful, if brief, part in my life:

=========================================

14 Sep 1983: I got a letter from Kris today.  It was really neat.  She is a neat girl and I miss seeing her … I got a little homesick when I read her letter but I got over it — or I will get over it, hopefully.  I can’t wait to write her back.

25 Sep 1983: I have decided to give Kris a Book of Mormon when I see (her) at the airport…I have really grown to love her and I just want to help her find some of the happiness that I have found.

5 Oct 1983: I got a letter from Kris today.  In it she said that she might love me but she really isn’t sure yet.  That made me feel pretty good.  I don’t think of her for very long periods of time because that would only make me homesick, but when I do think of her I realize that I am pretty lucky to know her.  She is an awesome “chica.”

13 Oct 1983: (Kris wrote) that she had found this old poem… and it reminded her of me.  She said that next time I was worrying about whether or not I should do what I feel, I should read the poem… (The poem says) that if you don’t take the risk, you’ll never realize the joy.

20 Oct 1983: Yesterday I received a pretty “important” letter from Kris.  She is starting to get nervous about being away from me for so long.  She is afraid that I could become “holier-than-thou.”  I wrote her a letter and tried to explain the change that I am going through… I really love her and would hate to lose her but I will roll with the punches.

21 Oct 1983: I received the best letter I have ever received from Kris today.  She said that she read (an article about Mormon missionaries) … and that it had really helped her to understand why I felt I needed to go on a mission and that she was happy for the changes I have been going through… Later today, we went to a pizzeria over by BYU.  They had tunes playing there and of course one of the songs they played was “King of Pain” — Kris and me’s song — by The Police.  It was tough but I came through ok.

26 Oct 1983: After scripture study I booked over to another building and called Kris.  It was great to talk to her!  We really didn’t talk about much but just to hear her voice made me feel great.  She was excited to hear from me too.  We talked about the fact that we are both kind of nervous about the airport but both of us are excited about it!  I told her that there would be a lot of my relatives there and that I just wanted her to be right next to me all the time.  She said she would.  After we were done talking we both told each other for the first time out loud that we loved each other!!

8 Nov 1983: I am on a plane somewhere between Miami and Lima, Peru. At the airport (in Utah), my family and Kris met me… I gave Kris the Book of Mormon; I don’t know what I have been worried about.  It went great… I love her more than I can believe.  She wrote me a long letter and gave me a present but … I haven’t been able to read (it) yet.

A sadly out of focus photo of Kris and my Grandpa seeing me off at the airport in November 1983; my only photo of Kris.

A sadly out of focus photo of Kris and my Grandpa seeing me off at the airport in November 1983; my only photo of Kris.

19 Nov 1983: The girls here in Peru are really friendly… While we were (downtown) we stopped in a record store.  I bought a “Police” tape because it was only like $3.00.  Neither (my missionary companion) nor I have a tape recorder so there is no listening to it.

24 Nov 1983: Today was Thanksgiving… after (turkey dinner) we went shopping.  I bought two tapes: The Police: Synchronicity and The B-52s: Whammy.  We haven’t got any way to listen to them though.

26 Nov 1983: I still haven’t heard anything from Kris.  Oh well, I’m tough.  I can handle it.

12 Dec 1983: Well, I bought myself a tape player today.

18 Dec 1983: I received some pretty good letters… finally got one from Kris.  It was a neat letter.  I am so flippin’ confused about her that I don’t know what to do.  I just don’t know how I feel anymore.  How can feelings change so fast?

7 Jan 1984: Today was a pretty good day… The only problem is that I’ve got to stop flirting with the girls.  I am just torturing myself!  I got a letter from Kris today.  It was a good letter… I am beyond confused about Kris and my feelings towards her… I kind of feel guilty because my feelings have changed so quickly.  From letters it sounds like Kris and my family are getting to be quite the good buds.  What am I going to do?!

2 Apr 1984: Spent the morning writing letters.  I also made a cassette for Kris, remember her?

7-8 Apr 1984: I only got four letters… one from Dad and one from Kris…

20 Jun 1984: …By the way, last Saturday I got a cassette from Kris but it was so boring that I forgot to write about it.

22 Jul 1984: I’m gonna “Dear Jane” Kris tonight.

17 Sep 1984: I got a letter from Kris today after two months without anything and man, is she pissed!  When I wrote Kris off I felt good because I thought she had really handed me a lot of crap, now somehow she has made me feel like a complete jerk.  I have already written an apologetic letter.  I should just leave it, but no!! I have to make sure everyone is happy…

=========================================

A sleep trance, a dream dance,
A shared romance,
Synchronicity

(from the song “Synchronicity I” by The Police)

From → Church, Daydreams, Music

9 Comments
  1. Wonderful post. I shy away from anything too real in my posting (its where I escape to) but you always do it rather beautifully.

    This is precisely why I burnt all my teenage diaries too, I didn’t want any evidence left lying around for future generations to find.

    King of Pain is a real beauty of a track too.

    • Thanks, man. Funny, I guess I’m the opposite in some ways. Haven’t really thought about it but it could be that my posting represents an escape into the “real” from the fiction that rules my day-to-day. Hmmmm… and yeah I agree, I still really like that song.

  2. Always liked Wrapped Around Your Finger, but Every Breath You Take gets a little bit on my nerves, possibly due to excessive radio exposure.
    Please proceed to say ”You weren’t there, man!”, because that would be an entirely fair judgement 😉
    Great post.

    • Many thanks. Yeah, even back then “Every Breath You Take” was not a favorite for me, and that was before I had any sense of its less-than-romantic stalker overtones. As they say however, context is everything and the context of that early experience with the song was pretty cool. In other words, ”You weren’t there, man!”

  3. Poignant and touching.

    I really enjoyed the diary in all its certainty, confusion, come-on and callowness. One should never ever burn one’s past!

    [Took a detour for a few minutes searching -again- for an ex- of my own… nothing. Again.]

    Was also captivated by the story in the Tags (top left). Seems that if you substitute ‘Passion’ for ‘Police’ you have life pretty much covered. Some might say the afterlife too.

    Thanks Victim. You make me want to be braver in my own writing.

    • I always welcome and look forward to all your comments here, VC, but you must realize that your last sentence above is really something else. I am equal parts moved, grateful, and incredulous. Thank you.

      As I age, I find myself more willing – from afar in time and space, of course (smile) – to be forgiving of the flaws and foibles of those important to me, to include my past self (emphasis here on past). As I increasingly allow myself to observe them with empathy and in active non-judgement, i find my love for folk “embiggened”.

      At the same time as I age, I find myself less willing to be forgiving of the flaws and foibles of those who are not important to me. Somehow I am becoming more empathetic and more cantankerous simultaneously.

      • Man, that last sentence is so spot on. Is it paradoxical to strive for an increase (no matter how modest) in personal embiggeness while judging other for a lack of the same quality? Yours, with loving grumpiness, VC.

  4. Thanks for writing this post, Victim of the Fury. I’m hoping to come back and comment after letting it sink in for a while. Best wishes!

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