Fade To Grey
It’s amazing how what appears to be the most insignificant moments turn out to be life changing. A series of unconnected events which catapult you into a new, unexplored existence.
All it took was reading one entry in a journal from 30 years ago: ‘Tonight I met the most interesting man.’
Once again, I am thrown back in time to a life where I lost myself for a while. Thrown into a dreamlike world of rock n’ roll I never dreamed I would live in. A time when I was with the band.
I hated that statement, never uttered it once in conversation. I was not with the band, I was with someone I loved who happened to be in a band. As I read through the entries, I am amazed at my innocence and naiveté. In reality, I was a 32-year-old woman going on 18.
July 26, 1987. Recently separated from my husband of 13 years, I let my sister talk me into going to see a new band. The lead guitarist/singer used to be in a popular local band in the late 70’s that she and my husband and I would go see play from time to time. He is in this new band and she wants to go see him. I refuse at first but she is insistent I go with her as she has had a crush on this guy forever. It’s a sultry humid Sunday afternoon in Houston, Texas and there’s nothing else to do.
During one of the band breaks, he comes over to sit at our table. Having no interest in musicians, I ignore him. My sister is starry-eyed and fawning over him as if he is a Rock God.
He keeps trying his best to draw me into the conversation but it’s not working. Bored, I get up and go to the bar for a beer. Once he leaves, I return. Pass the time by flirting with the guy at the next table. I impress him with my witty charm and because I can whistle like a boy. At the next break, the singer comes over again to our table. My sister is over the moon, making her intentions clear.
Filled with derision, I notice annoying little details about him. He’s drowning in sweat from playing. Not an attractive look. I suppose underneath all that sweat he’s a bit handsome, and somewhat charming but not my type. Unimpressive dishwater blonde hair, but the bluest eyes ever. And then I spot it. There is a pale white ring of skin on his otherwise tanned left ring finger. Married, no doubt, but not wearing his ring. Perfect.
At the end of the night, my sister invites him to go with us to another club. We are meeting some of my work friends at Mecca, a gay club, for garden party. I assume he will not want to go, straight guy and all, but he surprises me by accepting the invitation.
Mecca is off the wall fun, as it’s drag night and there is typical 80’s dance music playing. Madonna, DOA, Tears for Fears, Boy George and Culture Club. We are dancing with my friends, having a fun time. Even the straight rock singer seems to be enjoying the atmosphere. Some of my friends are doing poppers (amyl nitrate- a popular drug in that scene) but it’s not something that appeals to me.
And then it happens. The insignificant moment in time which will change the course of my life forever. It puts me on a path of not only tremendous joy and devastating grief but also extraordinary soul growth.
My sister walks away; he and I are alone for a brief minute. His soft lips brush my ear as he whispers, “I would really like to kiss you.”
I stare at him and the world around me quiets and fades to nothing but him because I am drowning in those blue as the ocean eyes. As his lips touch mine, I am frozen, unable to look away.
It’s there I’ll stay for the next 7 years until they fade to grey with his senseless death.
Linda Lee Lyberg