It started off with a postcard. I was afraid to call my own brother. It was junior year of college and I felt pretty shitty. A lot was going on at the time, and I really didn't have anyone to turn to. Paul and I had our ups and downs in junior high and high school, and we didn't really come in connect much except for a big fight over who got to use the computer one night. Dad had to come in between us- pushing us apart. Maybe it was like in the movie Crash, the only thing that brought us together was us crashing into each other. There was a silent war that kept the Matsushima household quiet all those years. We were searching desperately for our own identities, separate from our parents strong presence in the community. Everywhere I turned I was expected to "be somebody", I never felt good enough.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I tried hard to be that "somebody" but it knew felt right. I tried wearing the hawaiian silver necklace, streaked high lighted hair, black v-neck long sleeve. I carried the Polo Sport purse and made sure that my lips were eternally glossy with Cover Girl lip gloss. But over the years of emulating pictures of girls I spent hours trying to be, I got tired. It didn't feel right. I was always self conscious. I felt that my nose was perpetually shiny.

I like to believe I found myself at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. I felt right at home with the mounds of used, marked down t-shirts that they sold for 3 bucks a pop. Every month I found myself there, scouring that parking lot for the next decent find. I stopped worrying about my shiny nose and my Polo Sport purse. I began to replace them with kitschy slogan t-shirts and decorative canvas bags.

How did I get to taking about clothes, when I wanted to talk about Paul and I. Oh yeah, I never felt good enough. I still don't, sometimes. But the feeling comes less and less as I understand myself more and more. So after years of non-communication with Paul, I sat down and wrote a postcard to him. I was living alone at the time, and I always sat staring into nothingness. One day I got mail. It was a postcard from Paul. We began to write, every week or so. About our classes, about our days and our thoughts. We wrote poetry and about politics and our problems and feelings.

The night before I graduated college, I invited Paul for a sleepover at my place. And as we laid sprawled out on my bed, we began to reminisce about our relationship. I realized that if I didn't write that postcard a year from that day, I wouldn't have been in Paul's life, and he in mine. We would have been thinking the same thoughts and living parallel lives and never even realized it. We would have lived always wishing that we could have been friends and weren't.

Sometimes all it takes is a postcard. And the rest is history.


Monica said...

that picture is priceless. almost as priceless as your story.

paul said...

wow ann. i never realized how our friendship/relationship/past-sis&bro-dynamic came about. this story makes me really happy that you took the risk to reach out to your lil bro and shoot him some snail mail. i kinda think if it was an email i woulda been like "whatever" and sent you a "whatever" reply.

i don't really remember that first post-card or what you said. matter of fact, i don't really remember where i was living at the time, although since it was a year before you graduated i was probably a freshman living in the dorms. Nor did i realize how important and life changing that post-card would be. but i'm glad you took the courage to send it. and i do remember that night we fought over the computer. i was a jerk, and i remember laughing about that at the time; i would like to apologize..i'm sorry for that. no excuses, no blame; i'm sorry.

this would be a great story to tell at my wedding (or funeral, jk)