He was my best friend freshman year at college. We practically lived together in the dorms, we were inseparable. He came from a very traditional family in Christiansburg, Virginia where it was customary to don Ralph Lauren cable knit sweaters, oxfords, and loafers. I, on the other hand, sported short spiky jet black hair, facial piercings, and wore pink fishnets with sneakers and skirts whenever possible. We weren’t exactly bookends but we had forged a strong bond. We both loved art but were not art majors. He was an extraordinary painter and our home showcases some of his great pieces. At the end of the year I was devastated when he decided to transfer to a school back home. I was so afraid we’d lose touch and he’d end up being another seasonal friend in my life. But that didn’t happen; instead we both traveled the four hours to see each other and kept our friendship alive.
I actually enjoyed the drive, the solitude. I always began the trip armed with my overflowing CD booklet tossed on the passenger seat, spilling its contents all over the floor. I would abandon it, however, as soon as my radio would pick up the college station around Charlottesville. Back then, I’d only have reception for an hour or two and I’d listen to it even with horrible static. Richmond radio stations just didn’t play music like that. Typically that was the only station that would play anything I’d like or recognize. It was mostly Indie, not quite mainstream, and they showcased artists like The Faint, Rilo Kiley, Iron and Wine, Elliott Smith, and The Decemberists.
During a long weekend in Christiansburg, I awoke to that soft light of morning only a blanket of snow creates and knew I needed to get on the road. Back then I didn’t trust myself driving in snowy conditions, so it was a cautious, if gorgeous, drive home. Although the snow wasn’t sticking to the roads, white flurries danced around the moving cars and the sky was covered in a thick blanket of clouds that promised more to come. Periodically, I’d turn off my CD and check the progress of the Charlottesville radio station, debating if I could stand to listen to it with static just for the chance to hear something good. It finally tuned in clear. And that was the moment I first heard my Quins. Their song was buried in the middle of a five or six song set, but as soon as I heard the first few chords I was hooked. I kept praying I wouldn’t lose reception before the DJ announced the songs in that lineup. Luckily I didn’t and a few minutes later he spat out “That was Tegan and Sara’s Walking with the Ghost” so fast I could barely catch it! I made myself repeat “Tegan and Sara, Tegan and Sara” aloud in the car so I wouldn’t forget the name. It worked and as soon as I got home I downloaded everything I could find by them.
It wasn’t then that I developed my attachment (some might call it an obsession) to the Quin Twins. It was months later in Ohio, ironically enough. The Boyfriend had bought me tickets to see Death Cab for Cutie with Tegan and Sara as the opening act. At that performance, seeing their interaction and playful banter, watching their personalities unfold before my eyes, I began to adore them as individuals, not just their music. A passion ensued.
After I moved back into my parents house, and planted myself on my Her couch, when I didn’t have a Twilight novel in my hands, I had my laptop. On that little screen I watched every YouTube video, both music and interviews, I could find on the twins. I adored watching their live performances just to hear the girls tell amusing and surprisingly intimate antidotes about their personal lives. To me, Tegan stood out as the one to fall in love with. All the while She teased me about the Canadian lesbians and plaid shirts, I was developing a tendre for Tegan that I never shamelessly cast aside, not even when I met the Girl.
My fascination with the Quins was something no one at that time understood. They intrigued me, Tegan captivated me. One day, I stumbled upon a quote by Tegan that sincerely affected me. I don’t remember the source but it’s etched in my mind.
“I think I’m a very emotional and sensitive person. I day dream, cry and imagine the worst a lot. But I’m also a romantic, the kind that would bury a love letter in my back yard.”Breaking up with the Boyfriend was sad, sad enough for me to need Edward Cullen, but having my heart torn apart by the Girl was something else entirely. Only the soft harmonies of another girl, another romantic, could ever make right what had been so carelessly destroyed.
"And that's all I need."