It's getting near dawn,
When lights close their tired eyes.
I'll soon be with you my love,
To give you my dawn surprise.
I'll be with you darling soon,
I'll be with you when the stars start falling.
When I see him, it's from a distance. A good distance. He sits with the guitarist, on the back edge of a big blue 1970s Oldsmobile wagon, outside the festival tent, getting ready for the next set. It comes at once--kids in the schoolyard walk up behind and kick your knees out from under you--that's the feeling. I stand on the dirt path, fixed in a secret place, wondering who he is, deciding to watch him for a while, at a distance. I'm just 21, catholic college girl, come out virginia, wanting, afraid of wanting, and wondering. Catholic school girls do a lot of that.
The drums hit, and they head back to the stage. Numb legs carry me closer as they start to play.
Daughter of a bassist, is that what calls me closer? Resurrecting my father, why not. That place I see him go as he leads the band further out, his back arched, eyes full of a pain that is my pain, releasing it, bass to the sky, electric orgasm.
Isolating the bass is a trick I've played since I was four, the low end has always mattered most to me, born into bass, take me home, take me from this place, I am so scared, alone, I am so eager to go.
He never saw me that day,
but he took me.
When we meet face to face, it is night, not day. This is no accident. I go with a single purpose, to find him, to let him find me. This night is especially hot and sticky inside Schnoz's, a Rochester hotspot in its day, and that day was September 21, 1984. In the club, you don't know where your body ends and another begins, beyond crowded, elbow to gut, beer spilling, feet stuck to tacky floor, we are all in this together.
About to sign with MCA, Cabo Frio is just starting to tour nationally. When they play in town, everyone goes. I didn't know any of that then. I only knew this: he was the most beautiful, passionate, talented, exciting man I'd ever seen.
The spotlights hit--red plus blue plus black equals ecstasy. I dance my ass off, and God it feels good to be 22 this night. I watch him the whole time. He watches me, and I know it, and I move just for him, and breathe in every note, watch his fingers climb up and down the neck with ease and precision I've never seen. And when it's all over, I sit with my girlfriend at a table, we're smoking our brains out, hair dripping, talking about what we should do tomorrow.
She gets up. I see him coming. Every breath of air is sucked out of me, and I wait. I've been waiting so long.
I press out my Carlton menthol--yeh, I was trying to quit--in the ash tray and he's standing there. Holy shit. Holy shit. What do I say? But he speaks first.
"Hey, I smoke that brand too," he says.
"Oh, really?" I say.
Yes, those are our first words. When we look back now, we have a good long laugh. Two smooth operators. Heh.
But to me, this night, his words echo across the sky, wrap around the moon, and come to rest in my solar plexus. We talk. We stare. He takes me to his place, and we talk all night, on top of the covers, until he falls asleep and I lay staring at him, too electrified to sleep, wondering what I am doing--this is not real. He tells me that night, before sleep, that he wants to marry me. I wonder if this is real. Think I'd better go home.
And I do go home. And I spend the next six months trying to push him away, the intensity terrifies me, dark savior why did you come for me? I tell myself I am too scared, and I don't understand, and I'm not ready, and I'm only 22, and I don't know what love is, and I've had a shitty life, and I don't deserve to be loved, and do I really want this life, and maybe I should go back to school, and I have issues with men, and what I tell him is this: "I'm not sure I can ever love anyone."
With this, he says, okay. I get it. Goodbye.
And he goes. Away. For a long time.
Without him, I can't love, I can't walk, talk, hear, live, eat, breathe, think, write, work, laugh, sit, stand, lay, smile, drink. The pain is so gut wrenching I vomit. Every day. What have I done?
He moves on, with one eye watching me still, and I set out with a passion I didn't know I had to get him back. I would kill to get him back. You don't understand. I know what I want now. I get it. Thank you, you have shown me love, reminded me of loss, I know the difference between together and alone, and I hate alone, and I get it. Okay. I get it. Take me off the torture wheel, will you?
I leave him cards on his car windshield. Other women take them off. I call more than I should. I'm pained and I'm pitiful.
And I'm still the one he wants.
"I've been waiting so long
To be where I'm going
In the sunshine of your love."
And he comes back. He holds me and Heals me. He captures me and frees me. His strong arms hold me up. His love lifts me up higher.
And in the 17 years since then, we've weathered storms that could sink well-armed warships, We've watched our friends' marriages go down in flames, and we hang on. At the core, it is the music, so tightly allied with love, there is a chord that resonates between us, sustained, even in the hardest of times.
The secret of voice, the secret of love enduring.
May 04, 2002
It's getting near dawn,
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 11:43 PM