Fleetwood Mac "Hold Me" released 1982
I do t know if it’s optimism or cynicism but I hear these old songs and a wave of relief washes over me, rushing in with the kind of centering that happens after a trauma averted. But it’s not a trauma, it’s the sum of my choices. This song in particular (and be it said that my lens has always been sharply focused around the fate of romantic love that deceptive sensory mystery) and this particular song is a reference back to this kid, the brother a terrible horrible teenage misogynist (that I happened to think I was in love with - no that minimizes it too much reduces it). I’m my 16 year old mind / heart/ body he was an apostle of Aphrodite - he was my one true love and just because it looked like the back seat of a car , super drunk, after no one else was left - to me. This guys brother was going to be my husband. I Hear a Symphony pealed as I walked down the aisle.
This song -Hold Me- doesn’t remind me of the boy I was infatuated with. It reminds me of his brother. It reminds me of feeling bad for the younger- looking version of my soul mate. The pangs of regret are because he actually liked me. He'd spent so much time convincing me that his older sibling was cruel to me. I felt bad because part of our bond was hearing the mention of his brothers name; it was talking about him without the judgement of my friends who were sick of my obsession. So I dated his brother — maybe only for this reason.
So here now, 40 years later. (Yes I tell myself that is possible that it's been 40 years and I know it is because this memory is contextualized in another lifetime -the 80s- and even for me it takes Google searches for visual reminders of interiors of 1970s Pontiac’s or Chevies, cars with no such thing as Bluetooth, never mind a DVD player. Cars with no automatic or intermittent wipers, cars with the smell of leaded gas. It was a time when global warming doesn’t exist. No cell phones - few computers. More than that. It’s my youth - that miracle of my undeveloped frontal lobe and floods of dopamine over the reptilian parts of my brain. It is hormones and a fertility-imperative bathed in the sounds of Donna Summer in dark nightclubs where no one questioned IDs because drivers licenses were typed on card stock with a photograph. Driver's licenses with lamination that was easy for a 16 year old identity thief to use their coke-razor to carefully remove one 25 year old girl's photograph can replace it with one of my 16 year old face. Obvious but sufficient.
I do think about it when the song plays. Fleetwood Mac's Hold Me. Mark. Mike's brother. Nice guy. Sweet and comforting. Knowing (maybe) that it was my final attempt to make Mike jealous. To hasten that proposal I knew would come. To speed up the planning, the Supremes timing giving way to Here Comes the Bride on the organ in the Gothic Catholic Church where I'd been baptized and confirmed. My inevitable marriage to Mike, the final sacrament before the Last Rite. A sacrosanct pact forever that would keep Mike from choosing another girl to sleep with after a house party. Oh, how I'd thought it would have been romantic; his indifference and rejection a thin shield protecting his true feeling for me.
Now I listen to Hold Me and I whisper to myself:
"Thank you God for not granting my wishes for a lifetime with a man like Mike or even his brother Mark."
I cyber stalked them both not too long ago. I did it because people do. It's called cyberstalking but really I just visited their Facebook pages. I just peeked into their lives and not for very long at all.
They’re old. I’m old, so that’s ok.
They’ve gained a lot of weight. I have too.
They’re still living in that Massachusetts town. I’m not.
"Fuck You liberals" they post in their status.
Their faces are ruddy from Alcohol.
I don’t see pictures of women or children on their pages, though likely they have them or at one time did. I see them with the same group of football players they have been buddies with since high school. Back then, their status as sports stars, was was a transitory illusion but I believed it. I thought sex was love and I thought my own adoration for a boy was romance - to me it was.
Girls back then did end up pregnant or somehow otherwise married to these fantasy men. That was the fate I'd prayed for God to grant me. I wanted to end up pregnant or somehow otherwise married to Mike.
I remember college and revisiting the old life I'd once lived. Being at a party and somehow afterwards ending up on a basement couch and on the floor in a sleeping bag, Mike. I should have recognized his form under the cover. We were together again, just him and me, alone all night. This was my 15 year old dream come true. And maybe this very circumstance had been one of the plots or one of my obsessive day dream narratives.
I go to college somehow become beautiful and sophisticated. I’m wearing high boots that I could never have afforded. Maybe I was at Harvard and it was fall and I’m in a bulky oversized sweater and jeans. I’m different somehow with my pearl earrings. I’m engaged but I don't love my fiancé. I still love Mike. So I return home over holiday break, back to my gritty Massachusetts fishing town. Mike's a contractor maybe a house painter. I return home and walk past a house. I look up and just like in a Rom Com, he’s there, up on scaffolding - he reflexively starts to cat call. but then he stops. Our eyes meet. He’s Rob Lowe. I’m Demi Moore.
Time really passes. I go to the local state college not Harvard. I study psychology and several of my professors suggest to me that I’d been abused as a kid. One gives me a book of short stories meant to be read to your wounded, inner child. The story my professor tells me thatI should read is about a little child who busies herself so much with daydreaming that she can’t live in the real world. It speaks to me, but I don’t know what it means.
We do find ourselves after high school and we are in this girl Sandy's basement. We're drunk: Just Mike and Me. I wish I could say it was payback or as they say now "taking my power back." But it wasn't either of those things. It was just nothing.
Mike's disembodied voice broke the quiet of the dark basement, “Remember when we used to go out?" he asked. His voice revealed a vulnerable intimacy in that dark space.
“No” I said.
Enjoy my random posts. These are pieces of writing that don't "fit" in any of the other categories or posts updating what's new in my world.