Seems like she was always there. I don't recall the exact time or date I met her but I felt like I had always known her. And somewhere between now and ten years ago I feel certain that our very first dialogue went something as follows.
Esme: What up, yo? I like the fact that you and your wife play in an awesome band together...
Me: Really? Wow. Thanks!
Jokes ensued and never stopped anytime we saw each other out and about in El Paso. And let's throw in the occasional dance for good measure.
I've said it before, but I will say it again. Esme was a force of nature in the smallest package.
She's gone now. Ripped from this plane no thanks to the weakest, most vile pile of flesh to walk the face of the Earth. To paraphrase Bob Dylan: he is not worth the blood he bleeds.
I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that Esmeralda Barrera is gone. Our Esme.
I cannot understand who would ever want to hurt one of the purest souls I have ever had the pleasure and privilege of knowing. This is not just my opinion. This is one of those facts of life, like, atomic fusion happening at the Sun's core. Her positivity burned as bright, providing light and life to anyone she touched. She was just that kind of awesome. Like the rest of us married to the music scene in El Paso, she loved all things rock, was passionate about the way music could transcend the core of all life: love. She had her share of difficulties but she never let them get her down. When she saw me looking low she had a way of using her big, brown eyes, soft grin, and biting humor to lift me up. She'll never know just how much.
As the years wore on, and as that tight knit musical family splintered off to different cities on different life paths, Esme and I lost touch. There was the occasional call out of the blue yonder she would make to settle some kind of Prince trivia or 80's rock mystery. I hope I was of help. There were also the yearly visits to El Paso during Christmas time when the extended musical family would reunite, and who could we find as The Big Bang for an all out dance party? Esme. Any tame party, lukewarm after party, or otherwise sedentary watering hole became a pulsating juke joint the moment Esme walked through those doors whether anybody knew it or not. That's the kind of energy, charisma, and positivity that emanated from her being. Even if she was the DJ, she always had to make her way to the dance floor. She knew that the essence of happiness were in those tiny, fleeting little moments when you would just let it all go. And she did. You know what it was? She made us all get in touch with that inner child that maturity has a way of beating down as the days wear on. She just had that way of making one's vision, perception of reality fresh and new, just as it was when we were all knee high.
I alluded to her sense of humor. World class. Dark. Honest. Goofy. Original. Witty. All things funny she embodied, and took jokes as much as she made them. For example, last year while I was down in Austin for SXSW Esme managed to suck me into a game that I will affectionately refer to as "Push Yo' Face" or "Shut the Fuck Up". She was playin' the game with Ed Stewart. Don't know who started it, but I got sucked into it while I was totally engaged in conversation with Ed. All I know is that me and Ed were just shooting the shit, having a good ol' time when I noticed a tiny palm shove its way into my peripheral vision and to the back of my head. That was the object: catch someone, a friend preferably, engulfed in deep conversation, find an angle, sneak in, and push that mug to the Mississippi. The hardest of laughs always for the rest of the day and night at The Spider Ballroom.
And that was Esme's gift: to remind each and every person that being and feeling alive was more often the best and funnest thing to be.
And she's gone.
And I will always miss her.
And I will cry a little bit and smile real hard anytime I listen to Otis Redding and the Kinks.
I miss you, Esme. You actually ARE the greatest force of nature but now you're everywhere.
I hope my brand new baby girl grows up to be like you.
Mikey More-or-Less currently resides in San Francisco, CA. His interests are: Music, Philosophy, Reading, Writing, Drawing, Cooking, and Complaining. He has a couple of degrees in philosophy. So he is not a total loser, unless you're one of those types that believe a degree in philosophy only makes for good toilet paper, jerk.