The letter arrives in a nondescript parchment envelope, with the words- You’ve Won! where the return address should be. Ravinia has never won anything in her life. She almost throws it away, assuming it’s junk mail. ‘Doesn’t hurt to look,’ she thinks. Inside- a single page, with the words, Join us! along with an ornate invitation shaped like the Hand of Fatima, in colors of gold, green,blue. The blue eye of protection stares back at her from the palm. Shocked, she drops the invitation to the floor. Who could know? Picking up the invitation, she turns it over looking for clues.
There are 2 concert tickets attached. For the Moody Blues, her favorite band. Appearing at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park. The venue where her parents met while seeing Janis Joplin perform on August 5,1970. It was a fateful moment in time, for them as well as Janis, for she died two months later to the day.
Theirs was a love story relived over and over around the family dinner table. Ravinia’s mother, Jess, spilled her drink on John, and the rest is clichéd history. They fell in love, married shortly thereafter. The wedding was simple with their vows made in a field of flowers. Sixteen months later, they named their first-born child Ravinia. Although she has lived with visible proof of deep and abiding love all her life, she is doubtful. Can real love like that experienced by her parents exist in the world today?
Ravinia hated her name and all it stood for. She wanted nothing to do with love. Her heart was once broken, so much so she never wants to love again. He was her love; her essence for being. To even think his name-Rowland, brings pain that is unbearable, even now. Being the only son born to French parents, he returned to France when they became ill. When he left, he took her heart forever. For weeks, she listened to the Moody Blues, playing ‘Go Now’, over and over as she sat in her apartment and cried. Allie, her best friend, was there through it all, and she was the one who came up with the idea of a tattoo. Ravinia got a tattoo of the hand of Fatima near her heart and Allie did the same. The Hand of Fatima, or Hamsa wards off the evil eye and offers protection. A talisman to bring goodness, abundance, fertility, luck and good health into a life. It is not only a token of hers and Allie’s deep friendship but a visible reminder to Ravinia. She must protect her heart from love ever again because she would not survive another brush with it.
As she ponders how she won these tickets and if she is going, Allie calls.
“I’m good, although something strange happened today.”
Curious, Allie asks, “What?”
“Well, In my mail, there was a letter with no return address. And inside, are two tickets to the Moody Blues concert in two weeks.” She doesn’t mention the Hand of Fatima.
“Ooh! One of our favorite bands. Let’s go!”
That settled it; she is going. And Allie will join her.
Ravinia gives little thought to the tickets and how she came to receive them and the two weeks go by in a flash.
The morning dawns bright, beautiful, and promises to be a lovely summer day. The concert isn’t until 8:00 that night so she has the day to herself. Alone with her thoughts, she once again wonders who sent the tickets to her. And if the Hand of Fatima is a mere coincidence or an omen. Well, no matter. She is looking forward to the evening.
She and Allie arrive at the concert early and find their seats. To their surprise, they’re escorted to an area that’s reserved only for guests of the band.
“Are you sure these are our seats?”
“Yes, this is correct, miss. Enjoy the show.”
And enjoy it they do. The band plays all their favorites. Among them: Your Wildest Dreams, Tuesday Afternoon, Knights in White Satin, and Go Now. By the end of Go Now, Ravinia is choking back tears. She misses Rowland now, at this moment, more than ever.
When the band comes out for the final encore, the singer pauses. To the hushed audience, he begins by telling a story.
“A long time ago, there were two people who loved each other. The kind of love that never fades but only gets stronger with time. Their souls sizzled with electricity when they were together. Everyone they came in contact with saw it, and it gave them hope that they too, could find this kind of love someday. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and their relationship ended through no fault of their own.
Tonight, I want everyone in the audience to be the catalyst to help them find one another again.” He pointed to Ravinia and said, “We dedicate this last song to you, Ravinia.”
Ravinia, with all eyes on her, freezes. Allie looks over at her, grinning like a Cheshire cat. The band starts to play ‘I Know You’re Out there Somewhere’.
A lone figure slips in beside Ravinia, takes her hand, brings it to his lips, and kisses it. The gesture is familiar. Etched onto her soul; it’s the way he said good-bye. And it will be the way he says hello, for the rest of their lives.
Linda Lee Lyberg