Kate called Celeste once it was a decent hour.
“Do you remember someone in your grad program named Trey Kidd?” she asked.
“Trey Kidd?” Celeste echoed. “Of course I remember him! We were thrilled when he cut his first record. Our Trey! A pop star! It wasn’t that surprising, really. He performed all through his years at the university. He had talent.”
“My grandpa wrote the lyrics to some of his songs,” Kate said.
“Did he? I suppose that makes sense. So many of them had that strange cross between romanticism and esoteric intellectualism, which was Solomon’s special brand. I think that’s what made Trey so popular. People felt smart when they listened to his songs, but they also fell in love, a little bit.”
“That’s the point,” Kate said. “I think Trey Kidd was W.C. It’s not a name; it’s a nickname. Wild Child.”
“Oh,” Celeste said, “how stupid of me! Of course! We all called him that. Last name Kidd, you know. And he was so untamed. Yes. It makes perfect sense now. He was gorgeous. Do you remember him?”
Kate didn’t remember having met him. But he was beautiful in the photos on his album covers.
“Can you help me find him?” Kate asked.
Celeste didn’t answer right away.
“I’m thinking who I’d know,” she replied at last. “I never kept in touch with him, but surely we had some friends in common. Who’s still alive? Marjory. Marge would know. Hang on–”
Kate looked out the bedroom window over the bay. She didn’t feel nervous or excited. Why was that? She felt solid–she felt in-her-body. She felt warm. This must be right. This is what dharma feels like, she thought, when we walk the right path. She was doing what her grandfather wanted. He wouldn’t have danced with her in the dream, if not. He wouldn’t have led her to Trey’s name, if not. She wouldn’t have found Trey’s letters and his news clippings if this wasn’t all according to plan. Next, she’d find him–
“–Damn!” said Celeste when she returned. “Seriously, Kate, I don’t know what your grandfather told you about getting old, but it’s so terribly inconvenient! I literally can’t find anything anymore! My address book? The one with Marjory’s address and phone number? You’d think it would be in the top shelf of my desk, right? Where it always is? But damned if I can find it! It must be here somewhere. Tell you what. I will keep looking, once I find my glasses, and then when it turns up, I’ll let you know.”
Now Kate felt nervous after ending the call.
Wouldn’t it be easy if it were the right thing?
But sometimes, the path is hard.
A folksinger doesn’t disappear, even decades after he’s stopped recording, not if he’s popular, like Trey was.
Summit School. She googled it. She found a listing for a Summit Public School, but it was a charter that had opened in 2015. Trey started teaching at Summit in ’82. The search on the district website led her on a goose-chase through PDFs detailing the usage of school buildings from the 1890s through the early 2000’s. The best she could tell, Summit became NOVA high school somewhere in the late 1990’s.
It was a weekday. She called the NOVA front office.
“Trey Kidd?” said the office manager. “I’ll tell you what I tell everyone who calls asking about him. We can’t give out information about our employees. Even if he did teach here, which I’m not at liberty to disclose, I wouldn’t be able to confirm or deny, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to reveal any contact information. And even if I could, we don’t divulge the names or numbers of any of our employees, even if he did teach here, which I can neither confirm nor deny.”
“Do you know how I might be able to find him?” Kate asked. “I’m not a fan. It’s personal. My grandfather’s last wish.”
“Did you try social media?” the office manager said, and she hung up.
Kate googled Trey Kidd. The phishy directory listings all offered smudged addresses in Seattle, near Greenlake, and making the addresses legible would only cost the price of a small subscription.
She found the two-part Bumbershoot interview in the Seattle Weekly archives. She found some fan blogs and some reviews on hard-core American folk music sites.
But she could find no recent information. Trey Kidd had seemingly disappeared from public view.
She turned to Twitter. A core group of fans, with handles like @heartWildChild and @kidd4ever, shared tweets declaring their evergreen love: “not feeling well and I still luv only TKidd;” “goodnight world. I live for Kidd!” “Oldies are besties–Kidd4ever!”
@TreytheHardest posted a photo of a street corner with the hashtag #TreyKiddSighting. “Doesn’t this look like someplace he’d show up? What does he even look like anymore?”
Kate followed the hashtag to find a trail of photos and suppositions. One posted a week ago showed a café from this very town, a few blocks from the university. “He’s working here as a barista” the tweet said. “#KiddYouNOT! Seriously. I effing SAW him! Makes perfect sense! He used to live here! Duh! That’s him.”
The photo was taken from the street, through the window. Behind the espresso machine stood an older man with long gray hair. That was about all you could see of him. It could be anybody.
Kate called Celeste.
“Do you think he could be working here in a café?” she asked. “As a barista?”
“I don’t see why not,” Celeste said. “Kidd always did like coffee! And he sure did love this town.”
Kate’s nervousness left, and she sat solidly in the orange plastic office chair.
Prompt for May 24: “Tell a story that features a disappearance,” from StoryADay.org.