Starlight had been dead for almost a year before Katrina began making music again. Up until that point, playing had merely served as a painful reminder of everything that she had lost. Starlight’s ukulele had sat on the window seat in their bedroom collecting dust, and her own instruments stayed packed away in the closet of the guesthouse.
When Bernie first asked Katrina to play for her wedding, Katrina had almost said no. Her heart was heavy, her fingers were stiff, and she knew she would be rusty. But when Katrina finally picked up her guitar again, she found that her body had been aching to play.
After the wedding, she dusted off her old amps and started practicing with fervor. Portia agreed to take the girls up to the main house for their afternoon nap four days a week, and Katrina would have an hour or two to play in the gust house and experiment with new material.
Within a year, Katrina found herself yearning for the city again. There weren’t many opportunities for a musician to make a living in a world that was still struggling to survive, but she started driving up to Santa Fe on the weekends to deliver produce they’d grown on the farm and play for the crowd at the farmer’s market. People began coming at times when they knew Katrina would be playing, and she decided that it was time for her to move back to the city.
Boulder, Colorado, was one of the first cities in the region to make a major comeback. The citizens there mobilized to create some of the largest and most productive community gardens, and slowly a few businesses started to reopen. Walt loaned Katrina the money to reopen Shelley’s Diner, and she reestablished her mother’s restaurant right on Pearl Street.
Katrina began performing at the diner when business was slow, which brought more people in and earned her a growing local fanbase. She met a woman named Lola who played the bass, and they started a punk duo whose sound far surpassed any band Katrina had ever been a part of.
Katrina and Lola became business partners — pouring coffee and bussing tables during the breakfast and lunch rushes and playing for patrons in the evenings. Walt frequently drove up to Boulder to “check on his investment,” but Katrina knew her father had only come to visit her. She eventually paid back the loan, but Walt told her to reinvest the money.
Katrina expanded and built a recording studio onto the back of the restaurant. She and Lola recorded their first single and started their own label under the name Diner Girl.
A year later, Walt passed away in his sleep. He left his life savings to his two kids, but he left the farm entirely to Katrina. Mitch never returned to collect his inheritance.
Katrina was devastated by her father’s death, but she didn’t have the heart to move back to Carlsbad. A lonely life in the country in the house her father had built was too much for her, so she asked Bernie to help carry on her father’s legacy.
Katrina knew that Bernie would have run the farm out of the goodness of her heart, but she wanted to compensate her. She told Bernie that if she and Simjay stayed there and worked the land for five years, half of the farm would be theirs.
Katrina and Lola took their act on the road, finding new fans all across the country. Eventually, their friendship and business partnership grew into a romantic relationship, but Starlight’s old ukulele stayed mounted on the wall of Katrina’s boulder studio for nearly two decades after her death.