Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Hero

Few bands, or artist for that matter, have had the impact on me that the Beatles have. Most often, artist have perhaps a song or two that are capable of propelling the human mind on board a nostalgic journey back to the wonder days, where everything was enveloped in childhood wonder.  In most of these moments, it’s their bitter sweet end that brings a sullen smile, or maybe even a long-feared tear. The way I see it, an artist’s magic pen, if you will, is, or should be, based on their ability to connect with people and their emotions.

And with the Beatles, it’s song after song, beat after beat, lyric after lyric that I find myself traveling back in time and once again see myself with my worn-out jeans, beat up sneakers and faded hoodie, walking down the fragmented sidewalk while John Lennon’s voice echoed into my eardrums. I can’t help but let out an actual smile as I remember that naive and stoical expression cemented on my young face. Every time I hear those drums begin to pick up rhythm as the words begin to vocalize, “You’re gonna carry that weight, carry that weight for a long time,” she comes to mind. Allison.  The red-haired, green eyed beauty that shattered every inch of my being, but turned away, never looking back or ever returned to see the pieces fall and scatter all over the floor.

The first time I met her, we were but 2nd graders. Since I had moved into the state, it was obvious a new school was quickly written in my book. That first day, I was to sit across this little girl with auburn red hair, whose emerald stones stared at me like a child would when presented with a never before seen character from the muppet babies. I was the strange new kid. I was Beaker; shy and long-suffering. It was only a matter of time before all eyes turned to me. But with Allison, it was different. She smiled at me from across the table, and like the soft spoken kid that I’ve always been, I simply put my head down, and turned away. Seconds later, her soft, little hand passed a neatly folded sheet of paper across the table, and in her writing, she’d written the word “Hi.”

Through the years, she became my one and only true friend. And because of that alliance, she had soon realized my passion for music, and my inherent discomfort with this world, people, and my own life. I could never hide anything from her. One lucid stare, and she knew something had derailed my mind and once again put me on a track I always found difficult to return from. She became the only one who understood why my state of mind was severely injured after having seen my biological father pull the trigger on himself when I was but a five year old boy.

Perhaps it was that critical moment in my young life where things turned for the worse. I wasn’t old enough to reach the steering wheel, when I’d had my first luminous encounter with methamphetamines. It was because of those brief  instances of being under the influence where I found myself  rolling with a small group of acquaintances, causing mayhem, running away from the big boys in blues. At the time, I was the villainous Fonz of the group. I was respected. Not because I’d earn it, but rather I was feared. By everyone. Except Allison.

She was the only one who knew how to make me smile, even when I didn’t realize what she was doing. I vividly remember the day, when I was 16, when she found me lying on the roof top of my building at 2 in the morning, eyes closed, letting my fragile mind wonder around. We had just returned from the town fair a few hours prior. I still remember her delicate fingers crossed with mines as we sat up in The Viking Fury, a ship that swung us back and forth on a 270 degrees motion. Her joyous scream and blissful laughter resonated as the ship made it’s stomach turning trip, back and forth. I remember her red hair flying around her as we rode the electric cars at full speed, the fair’s lights making her look even more ethereal. And that moment when she turned around, her green eyes looking straight at me, smiling as she said, “Come on, you. What did the Beatles say? If there’s anything that you want, if there’s anything I could do. Just call on me, and I’ll send it along, with Love, from me to you.”

She knew how much I loved the Beatles. Perhaps that’s why started singing “From Me To You” as she pulled away in her blue electric car. There has never been a more heavenly rendition of that song on this earth, than there was that night.

Hours after the electric cars, the buttered popcorn, the elated laughs and enchanted smiles, there we were once again. Alone. Just the two of us.

“Hey, stranger, ” She said as she walked towards me, her hands inside her denim jacket. I quickly opened my eyes and saw her standing there, looking beautifully ethereal underneath the moonlit sky and starry night, the breeze gently brushing her hair as she smiled.

Surprised, I said, “What are you doing up here, Red?” I had always called her Red. Remembering her auburn red hair, I doubt she would have wanted it any other way.

“Just thought I’d say thanks. For everything. For tonight.”

“You don’t have to thank me but how’d you know I was here?”

Smirking, she nodded, “I know you, remember?” As she sat next to me, she continued, “And I DO have to thank you. I know how much you hate crowds.”

“It wasn’t that bad. It was fun, actually. Plus you were there. And that alone was worth it.”  Just as I began to relive how happy she’d been that night, I heard her whistling “Here Comes the Sun.” When she finished, I sincerely said, “That was nice.” And it was. It really was. To which she replied, “Thank you.”

As I was lying there, I felt something placed on my chest. I opened my eyes, and saw the Abbey Road CD. Confused, I asked her what was going on, trying to figure out why she’d given me, in my opinion, the Beatles’ best album.

“You didn’t think I’d forget, did you?” I honestly didn’t know it at the time, but she knew exactly what day it was. It was my birthday, and no one had remembered. Not even I. Except her.

“Happy Birthday, boy.” Then, she slowly leaned towards me and closed her eyes as her lips pressed against mine.

It was the first time I had ever felt her soft, strawberry red lips. Although I was confused and surprised, I decided to not question everything, and let my fingers caress her delicate soft cheeks as our lips met for the first time since we had met. I distinctively remember her forehead resting against mine as she bit her lips while her thumb and index finger squished mines.

“How’s that for a birthday gift?” Being the pessimistic asshole that I am, that was the first time I asked myself why she was my friend. It’s obvious to me now that she really did feel something genuine towards me. But at the time, I thought I had realized she felt pity for me. I thought she wanted to make  me feel better, to raise my self being. And in her desire to do so, I figured she did the things she did, said the things she said, and finally, kissed me the way she did.

Every time our lips came together, I wanted to appreciate it, to live it, to love her. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop thinking of the pity I so stupidly thought she felt. The image of my father, sitting on the couch, alone, in a drunk stupor, wouldn’t stop haunting my thoughts. Knowing me, she knew I had changed. At first, I could see she tried to ignore it. After two long years, I figured it was enough. In my confused way of thinking, I figured I’d give her a way out. We were in our senior year when she couldn’t take it anymore.

That day, before 6th period began, a part of me ended as she confronted me in front of my locker. She was waiting for me when I arrived. The moment I saw her watery eyes, I knew I had obliterated her happiness. A river of tears trailed uncontrollably down her soft cheeks, and I was to blame.

“What’s this?” She asked, her voice breaking as she unfolded a letter. It was a letter I had written to her, but hadn’t given it to her yet. She found it inside my jacket, which she was wearing. In it, I tried to explain how I didn’t deserve her. I tried to make her understand that she could find someone better than me. And finally, how I felt she only felt pity for me.

“You think I feel pity for you?” She asked, her voice trembling. “How can you possibly even think that? When have I-did I ever say that to you? Have I done anything to make you think otherwise?” While she continued asking all her questions, I simply stared at her, thinking to myself why she wouldn’t let me wipe her tears away, why she kept pushing my hand away.

“I fell for you, because of who you are.” My reply to her fact, is the perhaps most imbecile statement that’s ever come out of my mouth.

“And who the hell am I, Red? For god’s sake, look at me. I’m a fucking mess! Do you want to know who I am? I’m my father’s son. I’ll pull the trigger too, if I had the chance. That’s who I am. And nothing you say, or do will ever change that.”

I’m sorry I ever said those words. She nodded as she struggled to speak. “You’re not your father, even if you carry that weight for a long time. You’re not your father. I fell for you, because I love you.”

With those words, she handed me the letter, and walked away. If I close my eyes, I can see her walking away down the hall. I see her, hoping she’ll turn around, but she doesn’t. Then she gets lost in the crowd. I lost her.

Every time I hear “Carry that weight” or just about any Beatles’ song, Allison is the only person I think about. She’s gone. And the band plays on.

Advertisements

A lawyer…

I like the sound of that. I would have loved to be one, actually. A lawyer who works on behalf of the little people. I’d be their superman. And some day, one night, an incredible thing might happen.

A family of four sits at the table, dining, with their two children enjoying their delicious plate of spaghetti and meatballs. The father looks up across the table, and meets his wife’s eyes. And they smile at what they have. Out of nowhere, he hears something. He picks up his napkin, gently wipes his mouth, stands up, and walks to the window behind him. From outside, you can see his fingers slowly pulling the curtains as his face comes to view and finds what he’s looking for.

His wife and his two kids wait for his response.

“It’s him.”

That simplistic line prompts all four them to walk hurriedly to the front door. The father places his hands on the doorknob, turns it, opens it, and  sees how his family are not the only ones heading towards the front door. Houses across and down the streets already have their owners and occupants standing before the front door, their eyes all gazing towards the same end.

Underneath the moonlight, walking down the middle of the lonely street, I walk. Everybody can hear the sound my shoes make as they slap against the cold, hard pavement. Briefcase in hand, tie undone, hair out place, my eyes never move away from my goal: the end of the road.

I walk, tired, battered, and alone after a loooong, hard day.

And then they start applauding. One by one, every individual that lay their eyes on me applaud giving me an ovation because I can stand up, and fight those men of evil sitting behind their desk over at those Insurance Companies. I fight men like Bush or Karl Rove, who have rewritten the constitution and slowly begin to tear apart this country that so many fought for over 225  years.

I fight those who lay on their yacht over the Caribbean Islands, smiling in triumph as bulldozers begin to tear forest and destroy natural habitat, propelling creatures unto that long list of endangered species. I fight men who unscrupulously take advantage of the lower class, blue-collar workers who work for pennies simply because pennies are worth much more than nothing at all.

That’d be a heck of an ovation, don’t you think? I can see Gregory Peck walking down that street as Atticus Finch. Why can’t anyone be like him nowadays?

Despite computers slowly becoming an essential tool in today’s world, it’s been a while since I last sat in front of the screen, and surfed the net for my personal leisure. I distinctly remember when I was in my teens, I’d spend hours online, jumping from page to page, reading news, trivia, and history even. There was a reason why it was called “surfing the web.”

A couple of months ago, I finally succumbed to peer pressure, and registered a Facebook account. Once signed in, I quickly found a few of my high school buddies, which wasn’t hard at all since I knew their names. At first, I didn’t think much since I wasn’t finding out anything relatively new. We’ve kept in touch since high school, so there really wasn’t a major point to using Facebook. Besides, that’s what emails are for; to keep in touch.

But then I started thinking, wondering really. “What happened to the students I knew back in middle school?” For most people, middle school isn’t really that different from high school because most of the guys  and girls you knew there, eventually moved to high school with you. But with me, it was different.

I went to three different middle schools. Back then, in the late 1990’s, there were still a few elementary schools that still had 6th grade. In fact, I was one of the lucky ones to be a part of the very last 6th grade class of my grade school. Next, I was sent to the Ralph Waldo Emerson Middle School. It was this particular school that I was interested in since I only went there for my 7th grade school year.

40749

Of course, Facebook doesn’t have an option to search friends from middle school. So I had to do a little research. I was able to find out that 8th graders that left Emerson, were able to go to three different high school: University High School, Hamilton High School, or Venice High.

With just a few names I remembered from back then, I started my search to bring back a little bit of that lost past. To my surprise, the names didn’t get me anywhere. I was almost done going through the class of 2004 (the year we all graduated), when I came across this profile. Could it be? I couldn’t remember his name, but his face was oh so familiar. Holy !@#$!

It was this dude I had P.E. with! I started reminiscing of the all the mornings we used to play basketball before school, during nutrition, and lunch. I remember being, along with this guy, the king of the courts, even if it was for just a little while. I remember during P.E., him and I were the top runners. No one could beat us during that 4th period P.E. class.

I finally have a chance to reminisce the old days, through him, and hopefully he’ll know where I can get in touch with the other members of that glorified court. Now, if only I could remember the name of that radiant piano player in my orchestra class. Jennifer something…