Friday night an unlikely girlfriend offered a tincture for the blues I’ve been running from that aught me by the heel. She knew nothing could raise my spirits like a night out and live music.
Years ago, she and her husband played with a friend who's now the keyboardist for a (surprisingly popular) 80’s new wave/pop cover band. I usually despise such things; cover bands are the musical equivalent of odorless Wite-Out® or fat-free cookies, a dilution of what was once great. But out I needed so out we went. Said I’d drive, pick up another girlfriend on the way, not realizing the forecast called for snow. The flakes began to madly swirl and explode against the warm windshield as soon as we hit the highway, the snow globe variety and plenty of it. Did I mention my irrational and fully-formed fear of driving in snow, specifically on the highway in the dark?
I tell myself to look at fear and stare it down, fixating instead on how good it will feel once conquered. The company on the drive helped. Car talk turned to people facets, the surface cuts that reflect back in quick definitions and instant perceptions, especially in new-to-us faces. “When I first saw you,” I confessed five years on, “I knew I wanted to know you.” She had an “it” quality and I so wanted her to like me. Over time I sliced through her frosting into cake and discovered massive musical talent (chest pulsing, evocative piano concertos and the harp, so beautiful and soulful it’s like being in the waiting room to heaven). Married 32 years with family that all speak, and lovingly, to each other. Shops mostly at Express. Mormon, and devote. Children and grandchildren and a GILF (think younger Terri Garr and Goldie Hawn, the full blond package and enviable perfect apple bottom). And she took me in emotionally when I needed it, without the pity head-tilt and fluffy kid-gloves. She merely included me, no special treatment, but loads of special care. She shared her family.
None of us are one sound bite or flavor. Not just cat people or dog people, husbands or wives, cheaters or martyrs, sweet or salty, brave or damaged. We’re all those things and none of them.
I breathed oxygen back into myself and out into every room this weekend. Spoke to strangers, made myself available to friends and unearthed, perhaps reclaimed, facets of my own. I smiled at strangers, struck up conversations, sidled up and asked if this chair was free, sat down and became part of the conversation. Saturday night I sang out loud in a raucous downtown piano bar, drinking cherry cokes instead of vodka and letting my dress hitch up a little. Comfortable in my body and head. I was loud and goofy and inquisitive. I was more of the parts of me.
At the bands first set break Friday night, I walked up to the drummer and introduced myself. I’d been unaware until the time came to gather coats and head home that I’d been looking him straight in the eye and smiling for some time. It wasn’t a come on, I wasn’t preening. I’d just look up from my black-and-tan and find an open, engaged face. So I smiled back. He said in the bloom of conversation, moments after we met and with another set moments ahead of him, “Are you staying around for a while? “ I would have, but couldn’t, my girls had to go, the snow had just let up. And one should always leave them wanting more. I asked my friend to ask her friend about his bandmates situation…single? straight? interested? age-appropriate? If the situation is right, I’d like to find out what and who he may be, besides a drummer.
After all, that’s only one facet.
Dear Mr. Vernon,
We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket case... a princess...and a criminal...
Does that answer your question?
The Breakfast Club