I'll take a breather from the Book shortly. I got something else to write about.
Mr. Lonely Hearts
It was evening, about 8PM, when we got home. There was no mail, of course, but that didn't matter. We did have a phone, and I would use it shortly. I knew precisely who I'd call. But, just then, the phone rang. I answered and found it was exactly who I had planned on calling. Great timing.
I had joined a band. Wayne was our leader, the lead singer, and bass. Truthfully, I never knew how I managed to get into the band. I loved to sing, but I preferred to do it in private or with a large group, like a choir. Wayne, however, wanted me to write songs, play guitar, sing, and everything that could be done. I really didn't know much of the guitar system, and had less experience on guitar than I had on a flutophone. But Wayne had wanted me in, and I joined up. Our drummer, Andy, a tall fellow who hated to sing was in the group, but only if he could refrain from singing. Jack, our other guitarist, was the most skilled of the 3 "minor" members. He played guitar, and drums as well. He sang, too, but he wasn't a loud singer. And he had already written a song that would soon become our standard.
Wayne asked me if I could come over the next day. He wanted a full practice, but neither Jack nor Andy could show. I could, however, and I told him I would be there. The band had no official name, yet, but we had ideas. We had hopes and dreams. And we had similar tastes in music. A "Jam", of just the two of us. I would have to be there at 11 AM. I could take the bus, ride a bike, or walk, but handling a bike while carrying a guitar was not an easy task. And walking 4 miles to the other side of Day Park didn't sit well with me. So, I settled for the bus as my transportation.
It was late, I settled down for sleep. Dreams, many dreams, came at me from out of the night. And yet, every one of them was somehow related to Diane. Memory? Or something else? Golf, swimming, the whole of July 5th, Diane, Diane, and more Diane. One dream had to be of the future; Diane was wearing a full length dress. I had never seen her in a dress. And, more disconcerting: It was a long, white dress. A wedding dress, perhaps? Again, I didn't know. I awoke early, and wrote all the dreams down in my journal. Then, I took out my guitar to practice just a bit before leaving for Wayne's place. I found it hard to concentrate. But I practiced some of our songs, and left for the bus stop at 9.
I carried a notebook. I used it now and then, to write things that I thought might someday be put to music. While waiting for the bus, I wrote down a lyric to a song that I would forever remember. I knew, right away, what my chords would be, and where they were changed. Just a few chords in the song as it would be written. The song was a ballad, about finding true love. Wandering, looking, and finally finding it, over the third hill. I found that I had written it on Diane's birthday. I didn't realize it for a year, although I learned her birthday about a month later.
Upon arrival at my destination stop, I got off the bus, and walked the last 2 blocks. It was not quite 10, so I was a bit early. I hoped Wayne wouldn't mind. Stopping in front of his parent's place, I took in the design of the house. Sure, I had been there before, but not in daylight. And not in the summer months. I simply examined the siding, the porch, the doorway, and the basement entry, which I would be using. Finally, I walked up to the door and rang the bell.
Wayne answered the door. "Mike! You're early!. Come on in, we will listen to a couple of records before practice. Welcome to the home of 'Lockjaw, Inc."
"Lockjaw?" I asked. "Is that the name you decided on? Truthfully, I think it sounds a little tight-lipped. But, I know, that was one that we mentioned as a possible name. I guess it will be easy enough to remember."
Wayne's taste in Music was quite varied. He had stuff from the top 40, and more albums than I could imagine. He preferred stuff from the "English Invasion," but I wasn't much of a top 40 fan at the time. Yet, we listened to some good stuff by some English groups for about 30 minutes, while Wayne took out his sheet music, and I got the book. He tuned up his guitar, rather than the bass, explaining that the bass parts, although needing practice, would wait, because the guitar parts were more important. I had some trouble tuning my instrument, so he took it from me, and tuned it up properly. Then he saw my open book with my lyric and chords. He picked it up.
"Wandering for Love? Rocker?", he inquired. He started a fast beat with the chords, but I stopped him.
"No. It's softer, a ballad. I'd almost call it country music, without the fiddles and crazy accents." I began to play, singing the tune as I had imagined it. It was a slow waltz time, and when I finished, he said that it had some promise.
"Just thumb strumming? What did I tell you about that?" he asked. "You have to loosen your wrist a bit. A good rhythm guitar has to be fast, not slow." I shrugged. What could I say, anyway? There wasn't too much I could say!
We started with Jack's tune. Another soft one, but quite involved. The beat had to be just right, and the strum also had to be just so, or the song wouldn't work out. We sang a good harmony, even though I wasn't really familiar with the lyric, because it was Wayne and Jack who sang it.
Then, Wayne said we'd switch to a rocker, a song by the Beatles. I didn't know the song, so he played it on the record player for me. Ok. I understood.
When we started, the music didn't sound right. Too discordant. Just plain wrong. Wayne stopped playing, and looked at me.
"You seem a bit distracted, Mike," he observed.
"Not at all," I said, although he was correct. "Why do you say that, anyway?"
He got up, came over to where I was sitting, and looked at the music book. "Well, I guess the biggest reason is that you are on the wrong page! That is not a good sign, if you ask me."
I groaned. He was right. I was on the wrong song. There was no sense in denying it. "Ok, ok. Yes, I am a bit distracted. Let's try again."
Wayne put down his guitar. "Do you want to talk about it? Maybe I can help."
Wayne, being a couple years older than I, had much more experience, and certainly more wisdom than I did. He could also see the cause of my distraction. I hadn't told him a thing. Yet, he understood immediately. "It's a girl, isn't it?". I nodded, reluctantly. "That is trouble, my friend. Big trouble. Talk to me!"
I told him the story. From day 1, but of course day one had been just a couple of days ago. I watched his face. First, he showed disbelief. Then, it was incredulous look. Then it was envy. As I finished the story, it was understanding and perhaps a bit of sorrow. He nodded. Then, I told him what I was thinking.
He said, "Affairs of the heart are something I have some experience in. How old is this girl? Your age, maybe a year older? If you are going to play this game with her, you better be close to the same age."
"No. She's almost 3 years younger than I am, Wayne. She's not even a teen, so far as I know."
His jaw dropped. He was speechless. He closed his mouth, opened it again, closed it. It was almost 2 minutes before he said anything. But when he did, he really let loose.
"Are you mad?" he thundered. Nobody was home, but I was wondering if someone had heard. "You must be! She's way too young!! Insanity. You've gotten yourself into big trouble!" I fancied that I heard glasses rattling in the cupboards, plates falling off the table.
Then, he calmed down. "Friend, you have big, big trouble. You've developed a crush. And on a girl who's 3 years younger than you. This is bad news, I tell you. And you want to play along? You must be out of your mind. But I cannot advise you how to get out of it. I can only tell you this: It's your heart. You're entitled to risk it." I wrote that down in my book. Then he continued, "Don't go overboard, my friend. This can never last. Girls that age are trouble, and they know little of the way of the world. But let me say this: There's a reason that they call your situation a crush. Do you know why?" I shook my head. "Because that is what is going to happen, believe me. Sooner or later, she will crush you."
I protested. "She's not that type. Her brother wouldn't allow it. They are very close, and I know for a fact that he is quite protective of his baby sister!"
Wayne shook his head. "No way. It's trouble, I tell you. Listen to this song, and remember what we've just said." A Beatles song started up. The first line, "She's got the devil in her heart." And the reply, "She'll never hurt me; she won't desert me...."
"It's not like that," I said. "Just remember what my social life is like. You've been on a heck of a lot more dates than I have. Of course, even if you only had one, you'd still have been on more than I! While I grant you that you have a heck of a lot more experience, you don't know her! Until just now, you didn't even know her name! And I admit I barely know her, but I know her better than you do!"
Wayne began plucking the strings of his guitar. I didn't recognize the tune, but he said "I can only tell you what I have. Don't go overboard. If you are going to play this game, you must be careful. Remember what I said: There is a reason that it's called a crush. She will, sooner or later, shatter your heart. And you know what that means."
I nodded. "Two of my friends. One is now in treatment for drug addiction, caused by a broken heart. The other--suicide. I like to think I am more stable than that."
"Don't be so sure, Mike. When it comes to love, things get a bit mixed up." Wayne then looked at me and said something I won't forget. "Believe me, Love messed with my head, too. It screwed me up, big time. That's why I wrote this song."
The melody he played was strange, haunting. He just played a melody. No words. Just music. It seemed to be a dirge, nearly a funeral march. The tune stays with me to this day. As far as I know, he never used the tune for any of his songs. Yet, I would, I promised myself-- I would use the tune for a lyric. I would let him use it, and maybe, someday, he'd have a hit.
He went to the Piano. Sitting down at the keys, he said, "This is what the whole thing sounds like." He played. It was the same haunting, flowing, dirge-like melody. The harmony was a minor chord, the counterpoint was death itself mixed into the music. After about 5 minutes, he stopped. And he turned to me. "Let's hope it doesn't come down to that for you."
"That piece you just played. Does it have a title? It's absolutely great! I mean, It's just unbelievable. You WROTE that? When?"
"Before I met you, Mike! 3 years ago, when Jackie threw me over. No, no title yet. Death of a Dream, maybe. But I've never really given it much thought."
"Death of a dream? Too morbid!", I said. "How about ‘Goodbye to the dream‘?".
"Good!" he said. "I'll add a lyric later. Or, maybe we can work on it together. I'll give you part credit for the words, buddy."
We had some lunch, talked about music. I considered a new plan of action for my way to deal with Diane. A while later, I had my decision made. I knew how I would proceed, but I would have to plan it out carefully. But now I knew what I had to do.
Wayne and I talked and played for hours. In fact, he and I co-wrote two songs that day. I also wrote down some of what he said, and would use his advice for starting lyrics on what I would write.
We talked, played, listened to music for several hours, and then it was time to go. I caught the 4:30 bus, and headed home.