To demand recollection of the exact time and place this was said is impossible, as well as futile. If you must imagine something, imagine the conversation over a bowl of cereal, on a Saturday morning, the Oregon spring seeping through the windows- disregarding the fact that the girl never ate breakfast, and hardly ever got up early enough on the weekends in order to really see the Oregon spring seep in.
All that really matters to you, the reader, is that the hunt had started.
"Not just any shirt. A rock tshirt. And if we are getting down to the specifics, it has to be a Journey tshirt."
"Hmmhmm." Said her mother. "Paper thin?"
"You know it."
It had been a running joke between the mother and daughter that all the girl wanted in her vintage tshirts was for them to be paper thin, and soft as clouds, a concept that baffled her mother to no end.
"But THIS one surely MUST be paper thin."
"Mom, thats the roughest cotton I have ever touched, what are you talking about?"
Fast forward a month, and school is over. For the past 30 days the girl had pondered about the shirt, checked goodwills, reminded her mother about the hunt, looked on ebay. No efforts proved fruitful. Sticking true to summer form, the girl headed down to LA to spend the vacation with her family. There, she came close.
It was a Sunday, mid-morning, mid-summer. The girl went to the flea market with her mother. Alone, she browsed stalls, picked up items, and enjoyed the general sleepy day. She happened upon a stall, owned by a roughly shaven man, in his mid twenties, clearly groovy and clearly awesome. His goods for sale were rock tshirts, and hanging on the stalls pole the girl glanced at what she had been searching for. The Journey tshirt. In all its rock'n'roll glory. Her memory depicts the tee with a basic Journey graphic and the size looking slightly too small for her. She wanted it extra large. But considering this one was right here in front of her, extra small would have to do.
She put it back on the rack.
* * *
Months passed, almost a year had gone by. She thought about the shirt occasionally, the one she passed up. Was $45 really too much for something she had been thinking about for so long? The search was never exactly put on hold, but the vivacity in which the hunt was started weakened. What was once a rushing river of frenzied pursuit turned into the trickle from a kitchen faucet. The want was still there, just pushed to the back of the girl's brain by various other things, high-school, boys, piano, and so on.
Again, she goes to the Sunday flea market, and again she finds one. Different stall, different owner, different location in the market, but a Journey tshirt nonetheless. And this time, she struck gold. It was large. The graphic on the front and back was intensely incredible, crazy awesome. The event at which the shirt was sold was roughly thirty years before, at the Los Angeles Forum, a special five day stay, August 5th-10th.
"Excuse me? How much?"
A man that looked very much the same as the other guy from the months before answered uncomfortably.
"Umm... my boss isnt here. Uh, well, I dont really know... I cant exactly, uh, say. Uh... well. Forty. Let's say forty!"
The girl turns to her friend. Her friend didn't really get it. The girl finds her mother, shows her what she's happened upon. After much deliberation it was decided that the shirt must come home.
The girl pulls out her Pendleton wallet, counts the two twenties, and as if in slow motion, yet very fast, everything changes. She sees a new man start talking to the man who gave her the price, and just as she hands him the money he says "Im so sorry, I made a mistake. My boss is asking sixty." Snap. The cash goes back into the wallet. Thats it. Party's over.
* * *
A week goes by, and in those days the girl thinks about the shirt often. Now, reader, you must say, does this girl have no life? All she can think about is a tshirt? What is going on? Well, youre partly right. She goes about her daily routine and amidst the piano playing, texting, reading, her mind stumbles to the shirt. That Saturday she tells her mother she needs it, no matter the price, it was perfect. The mother agrees.
The girl makes a plan with her friend, a boy, to go to the flea market that Sunday and help him shop for a gift for his sister. What he didn;t know, was that he would also be part of a mission.
* * *
Again, mid-day, Sunday. The boy and girl had been at the market for an hour. The girl's mother rushes over to the two.
"Ive found it!" She says to her daughter. "The stall. Your shirt. Its over here."
The group practically run to the area, the girl with a plan, the mother driven, the boy unaware.
They locate the shirt, hold it, examine it, say Do you see this, boy? He nods. They leave the shirt hanging on its rack and venture to the stall next door.
The girl hands the boy three twenties, and tells him what to do. Why? He asks. Because the man who owns it will know I want it so bad that Ill pay anything, and he'll jack up the price. Oh. Thats why.
The boy goes into the stall. The girl watches from afar, texts suggestions: act nonchalant, non-interested, he'll think you wont want it that much.
"Whats the price?" He asks.
"Oh Im sorry, my boss isnt here. Let me wait." The assistant calls his inattentive, absentee boss. It takes the owner 10 minutes to reappear.
"How much?" The boy asks.
"Thats the shirt that one girl wanted last week, right Bob?"
"Yeah." The assistant agrees.
"Eighty." The owner says.
"What? Thats ridiculous! Ill give you fifty-five." The boy's a born haggler.
The assistant interferes, "Hey, hey. Meet in the middle. Do fifty-five."
"I make five dollars on this shirt," The owner complains.
"Sold," The boy hands him the money, "Here you go."
End: Dont stop believing.
American Apparel denim wash shorts, Vintage Journey tshirt, H&M leather jacket, American Apparel nail polish in L Esprit, M•A•C lipstick in Chili, The Stylish Wanderer x Mr. Kate presents Le Cadeau ring.