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Innocence Lost
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Life, viewed sideways. Emotions, amplified. Answers, questioned. Me, between the lines.

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"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."

Walt Whitman (1819-92)

"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."

Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Beth the Second - Magic

Function: transitive verb
1 : to carry away with delight, wonder, or rapture
2 : to put into a trance
3 : what a pretty magician can do to you if you're not careful

It was pouring down rain that night. Yeah, amazing I can remember weather from almost 25 years ago, but that night it was important.

Night time rain hardly ever happened in Myrtle Beach, because the way the weather systems usually worked the rain would come early on in the evening. Whenever it rained, Sloppy Joes would be almost empty and none of us made any money.

So there we were, rain spattering on the sidewalk, and a few people nursing their beers or shooting pool. I played idly on my guitar, knowing that the crowd was tipped out and I would do good paying for my gas that night.

I believe they came in together. I think his name was Chris (at least for this narrative it will be) and her name was Beth. I'd never seen them before but they seemed to know almost everyone else in the place.

Beth seemed out of place in Sloppy Joes. She had shoulder length blond hair in a cute style, sparkling eyes, and a ready laugh. But above all, she seemed to radiate an innocence that just poured from every inch of her, every motion she made, every expression on her angelic face.

And that, that innocence, was something no one had ever brought into that forsaken place. Ever.

I was captivated, snared, enthralled. In some real manner, this felt like forbidden fruit and something dark within my soul wanted to have it. How dare she bring this here. How wonderful. How delicious.

I got up to play and they sat right in front of me. We chatted a bit between songs, and when she went to the bathroom I found out from Chris that he wasn't her boyfriend, he was just a friend. Not only that, but there wasn't a boyfriend. Darn convenient, I thought. I also found out that she wasn't a tourist, she lived here. Even more, she was a magician, which I found incredibly interesting.

And she was showing interest in me too. As far as the two of us were concerned, for the next four hours there was no one else around. I would play, she would listen, we would talk a little, I would play some more. Each song I sang right to her, and I could tell that each one was hitting the target like a well placed arrow.

I was, after all, pretty experienced in this.

And outside, the rain just kept coming. People would scurry by the door every so often, but none came in. I had this one all to myself.

By the end of the night, I had asked her to go have some breakfast with me after my last set and she had agreed. Chris had left, so I asked her to walk with me to my car, parked about a half mile away, then I could drive it back and pick up my guitars. Sure, she said.

We ran out the back of the club, since it was still raining, but we had underestimated the amount of rain that we had. Water was pouring across the sidewalk a foot deep at spots, and we retreated into an alley to regain our footing. I remember we shared a breathless first kiss there, in the pouring rain, with the water surging over our shoes. We were oblivious to it. The scene was one right out of a movie.

After that we headed on to my car, where we fell into each other's arms before I could even get the keys into the ignition.

Before two more days passed, we were very, very seriously involved.

My friend Misty sat me down one evening. "Cliff," she said, "Watch out for her. She's not what you think she is." Misty wouldn't explain any more, but something obviously troubled her.

I can only think of two times when Misty said that to me. She was right both times, too.

A couple of weeks later, I was doing a show at Huntington Beach State Park, and I asked Beth to come along and do a magic show, we would split the till. She gladly agreed and it went really well.

On the way back, I brought her to meet my parents. I forget what exactly happened, but the next morning they told me that they didn't like me dating her. I, of course, was outraged and didn't pay them a bit of attention.

I would regret that.

Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke.
--Lynda Barry

Permalink: 1/14/2005 10:30:00 PM |
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