Good Vibrations (chapter 4)

“When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with glad cries of “Me too!” be sure to cherish them. Because those weirdos are your tribe.”
― A.J. Downey

“It’s ok it’s not like you’re married to him, so I wouldn’t be so hard on yourself,” my best friend consoled me after I admitted I had cheated on my boyfriend with the one man I probably would have married if he hadn’t left this world too soon; Brian Noble.

“The ball is in your court,” he’d always say, waiting patiently for me to make a move. I suppose that was always my problem. Settling for someone else’s dream to make them happy, forgetting that I, too, deserved happiness. It was always a running theme with me. I never chose what truly made me happy in fear of hurting the heart of someone else. I never chose him. I have to live with that for the rest of my life.

All grown up and ready to move on with our lives, Lauren and I were granted 5 years of endless sleepovers which we begged our parents for since we were 5. At this moment in our Junior year, we were both Psychology Majors and I was just beginning to dip my toes into the Art Department. No one can teach you the therapy that we provided one another through the worst of times and best of times. You can’t learn this in a book or a classroom. It just comes naturally, and once again, music was the key.

Billowing through the air, an aroma of rejection, guilt and shame lingered that night after my midnight rendevous with Brian in the river, and Lauren’s valiant bravery in approaching the love of her life, finally unleashing all she had ever felt between them. We needed to shake it off. We needed air.

The backroads in Lock Haven called our names as we dangled our hearts on the line, stuck our heads out the window on a crisp fall night, and blasted Enigma as we drove off into the stars, searching for sweet, cathartic release.

That’s not the beginning of the end
That’s the return to yourself
The return to innocence.
Love
Devotion
Feeling
Emotion
Love
Devotion
Feeling
Emotion
Don’t be afraid to be weak
Don’t be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself
The return to innocence.
If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself don’t hide
Just believe in destiny.
Don’t care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don’t give up and use the chance
To return to innocence.
That’s not the beginning of the end
That’s the return to yourself
The return to innocence.
Don’t care what people say
Follow just your own way
Follow just your own way
Don’t give up, don’t give up
To return, to return to innocence.
If you want then laugh
If you must then cry
Be yourself don’t hide
Just believe in destiny.

 

Return to Innocence

Enigma

Just as well as it should have been, we may as well had been naked. Our souls were laid completely bare that night as we danced like wild banshees under the moon, free of absolutely every restraint we had ever felt in our lives. We threw caution to the wind, stoking our inhibitions in the flames, as laughter echoed off the mountains.

Seatbelts unbuckled, we jumped ship as Enigma set us off into a philosophical rave that spun us from one corner of the river to the next, under the shifting stars; each one holding a special place within.

But we weren’t chasing the stars that night. We were after the man in the moon. Time after time.

“Time after Time? By, Cindi Lauper? Really? That’s your favorite song?” I laughed, cradling my Walkman between our legs as we sat side by side on my bunk in my dormroom, Freshman year.

“Yes. Take a minute and listen. I want you to hear this. It’s new.” As he split his earphones in half, giving one to me and taking one in his own hands, I realized then that in my hands, at that moment, I cradled all of his heart and every last bit of his bravery.

Blushing and submerging my head beneath the waves of awkward emotion rushing us, I put my half to my left ear, as he put his to his right. Together, we split the campus in two, by becoming one, as we shared an intimate space where all else faded away into the distance and everything grew quiet.

Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick,

And think of you
Caught up in circles confusion–
Is nothing new
Flashback–warm nights–
Almost left behind
Suitcases of memories,
Time after–

Sometimes you picture me–
I’m walking too far ahead
You’re calling to me, I can’t hear
What you’ve said–
Then you say–go slow–
I fall behind–
The second hand unwinds

If you’re lost you can look–and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you–I’ll be waiting 
Time after time

After my picture fades and darkness has 
Turned to gray
Watching through windows–you’re wondering
If I’m OK
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time–

If you’re lost you can look–and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you–I’ll be waiting 
Time after time

You said go slow–
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds–

If you’re lost you can look–and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you–I’ll be waiting 
Time after time

 

Cindi Lauper

Time After Time

I’m surprised we didn’t kiss that night, as the words saturated my core until they soaked into all my wandering thoughts for years on end; now haunting me until the day I die. He waited two more years to finally tell me the truth, without lyrics masking his true feelings for me.

“One shot to remember, two to forget! Get this lady a car bomb and double it up!” A chorus of art students and two head professors stood round my barstool, welcoming me to the department in an initiation ritual which consisted of an impromptu, belligerent speech detailing why I made the cut. The welcome wasn’t complete until each new student downed a car bomb – a double shot of Whiskey & Kahlua sunken into a huge frosty mug filled to the rim with Guiness. The goal was speed and ‘Cha.’ ‘Cha’ was how much sex appeal and umph you could muster up while bellied-up to the bar like a bonified saddle tramp, chugging the concoction in one healthy swig the second the shot glass broke through the first layer of suds.

In true Saloon fashion, I slammed down the glass on the bar, wiped my chin and laughed. Red-faced, I blurted out, “So, am I in?!”

Clapping along with the rest, like a drunken seal, Chet, a 3-D undergrad that knew no bounds when it came to extremes, started to serenade the crowd, “She’s got the good, good, good, good vibrations!”

It was true too, I was so nervous I was shaking. My nerves were always visceral and I couldn’t hide it to save my life.

Vance, the 3-D professor, roared, “She sure does. You just have this aura about you. She just … glows. Goddamn, one more round and make it double!” He stammered to the bartender, slapping down a twenty. “Next up, you’re gonna rack up some balls.” Afterall, it was tradition to shoot pool, half-lit, after initiation.

Like the young, artistic and budding alcoholic that I was, I finally found my tribe amongst the inebriated ideals of the dreamers, the doers, the back breakers and shakers and makers, the misunderstood, the outcasts and odd balls, the black sheep and square pegs, the vibrant cheerleaders that always said what they meant with an eccentric flair, the thirsty souls and hungry minds, the saddle tramps and pioneers, the esoteric existentialists and flaming liberals, out-of-the-box thinkers and the daytime drinkers, the philosophers of form and function, the dirty birds and slick tongues, the captains of the subjective vs. objective, and the dj’s turning beats in the melting pot of our very own version of creative genius.

Although he was an Art Major, hell-bent on designing luxury cars, Brian wasn’t there that afternoon as our crew skipped class to paint the town red. He was busy moving into the house directly across from mine our Junior year. Conveniently conspired by Cupid, of course.

And so it goes …

It was somewhere around midnight, midweek, right before my dance-off with Lauren in the back woods. Before I could knock on his door, his chiseled face popped around the corner.

“Liz. I have something to tell you,” he winked as he always did and motioned me to sit next to him on the front stoop to his house.

Inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly, he bowed his head while twisting his hands in knots, “I have always loved,” he paused, “… your style. The way you draw speaks volumes about who you are. Bold, curious, passionate … striking, even. Strong and deliberate strokes. It really gets to me. It always has.”

Taken a’back, I just whispered a bashful, “Thank you.” That was what he had to tell me? We had been in classes together for two years now. We both knew how we felt about each other’s work. Intuition kicked in and I instinctively winked.

He turned his head upward to look me in the eyes. Blue as the sea, shimmering under the street lights and moon. Striking eyes so wide I could see time and space fighting for their chance to win me over within them. “That’s not it though.”

Knowing fully well what was coming next after months of heavy flirting, I pressed into his ribs, “Then what?”

“You know what I’m going to say. It’s more than that, that gets to me. It’s you. Fully. I have loved you since the first time I saw you, Liz.”

A sense of juvenile giddiness rose up the spine of my back, straightening me and pulling me further from his face. I didn’t mean to pull away. God knows it’s all I had wanted to hear for a long time.

He looked terrified in that moment. “I..I have always wanted to just … kiss you.”

I glanced up at the moon, embarassed but smiling. Whipping my head around the corner, in the direction of the river, a light bulb went off in my head. We had to hide. In true Lizzy fashion, I grabbed his hands and pulled him up toward me, scheming for the perfect fit, “I have a better idea. Follow me.”

We were just kids trying to make it up. Barreling down the levy, we ran hand in hand toward the river’s edge as the clock tower struck twelve. The reflection on the water lit up our joy and mounted it into the constellations hanging above our heads. Our momentum dragged us further over the edge and suddenly we found ourselves knee deep in bliss. Yet, we went deeper still.

“The ball is in your court, Liz,” his tongue simmered across my neck as his fingers gently slid under my breasts. Our shirts were thrown on the bank and the rest of our clothes flowed gently down the stream. We were alone in the river, amongst mountain ranges and the man in the moon.

“You’ll drown. You’ll drown in the reality of me,” I warned, whispering in his ear while gently grazing my bottom lip against his skin.

Saturated breaths sifted through his hair that now stood on end. His knees buckled as he threw his head back and released an intoxicated murmur as he steadied his body, pressing up against my waist. He twisted his hands beneath my hair, gripping my head and locking it so my eyes had no place to wander but deep within his own. He bowed his forehead against mine.

Shushing me, his fingers gently parted my lips, “For you, I’ll learn to breathe underwater.”

Our lips met under the soft, violet light and slid beneath the ripples, swaying us in tune to nature’s rhythm.

To be cont ….

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