Stars in the Southern Sky

 

 

PicMonkey Collage (2)

“Amanda, light of my life …” I can hear his deep bass voice sing.  I close my eyes and drift back to childhood when he would pick up his guitar and start singing this song to me. I know the rest of the words aren’t very appropriate for a brother to sing to his sister, but it doesn’t matter where I am, I hear those five words, “Amanda, light of my life,” and I feel special. Loved. Continue reading

And the Wind Cries . . . Samara

It can happen unexpectedly. Every once in a while, someone stumbles into your life, and you just know there’s something there. A kind of connection. Chemistry.

When I first met her, she was a phone girl in a whore house. Immediately, I developed a full blown girl crush. I thought to myself, I don’t hardly know her, but I think I could love herInfatuated with her words, I devoured them, unable to stop. Reading post after post, I became more and more enamored with her.

Cautiously and bravely, I typed a comment and hit “post.” She responded quite quickly,  and an easy and comfortable friendship developed. We learned we had a lot of things in common like our love for boys music.

She has taught me many valuable lessons about life. I’ve viewed a tragedy from another person’s perspective. I’ve felt a mother’s love for her son. She makes me laugh. She makes me cry, and she makes me think.

I’m lucky to call her my friend, to call her my SisterWife, and today, I’m fortunate to wish her a very happy birthday.

Samara, I am so very glad you were born and so happy that fate placed me on your blog. You have welcomed me with open arms into your world, and for that, I thank you. In those moments when I’m not feeling like myself, you are always there. Everybody needs someone beside them, shining like a lighthouse from the sea.

Go celebrate your day, shine brighter than the sun, and for all of us, please continue to sing your life. (any fool can think of words that rhyme.)

(I couldn’t pick just one song. You’re more than one song to me.)

Happy birthday, Samara!

Samara pimping me at BlogHer (true friendship, people)

Samara pimping me at BlogHer (true friendship, people)

Boys, Booze, a Benz, and the A-Team

It was a Saturday night.  I spent an hour in my bathroom, spinning my short blonde locks around a small curling iron achieving Carrie Bradshaw bounce.  I threw on a low cut purple top over a white cami and my favorite pair of jeans, pulled on my  black high heeled boots and made a quick quality check in the mirror.   Continue reading

The Story of Autumn

I am so excited to introduce you again to my absolute favorite Brit, Lizzi, from Considerings.  She joins me today with her latest and final installment of Anitra’s story.  If you haven’t read the first three parts, please get caught up, and do it quickly:

Shadows and Stardust

The Wasted Minstrel

Anitra’s Chance

Now go find a soft welcoming chair, settle in making yourself comfortable, and sink your teeth into Lizzi’s brilliant words.

 

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Have you ever mourned the loss from your life of someone who’s made you angry; whose very memory causes your brow to furrow and your heart to become hard, even as part of you twists in pain because they’re gone? Have you ever lain awake at night worrying about them one second and hating yourself for giving them head-space (again) the next?

Have you ever wished and wished that they’d return safe, just so you could punch them in the middle of their face to let them know how much they hurt you?

My winter was cold and dark and immeasurably long as I tried to continue life, now thrown off-balance by the third loss of Anitra. I seemed cursed by my inability to unhook or maintain any sense of proportion as I wished for her return, at the same time nurturing a boiling rage against this woman who had taken our friendship and wantonly shredded it in front of me, throwing the tattered pieces in my face in defiance.

I trudged back and forth from the homeless shelter after my working days and at weekends, taking a masochistic pleasure in braving the bad weather; the sleet falling down my neck, my soaking shoes and damp coat serving as reminders that I meant it – I was helping because it was the right thing to do, not just because of the faded harmonies of years-old memories.

Throwing myself into helping, I vehemently protested with every deed, that this wasn’t just about her – and I convinced everyone except myself that this was the case. So much so that as the days began to lengthen again, I was given a new task, this time seconded from my job as an outreach volunteer (it looks good when your company has employees involved in ‘outreach’ – it makes the brand more personable, more human, and ultimately far more appealing than those faceless corporations who don’t care for the community which supports them).

A community garden.

The transformation of a council-donated patch of wasteland into a miniature park and shared vegetable plot, where the homeless could work alongside the homed, the lion could lie down with the lamb, and the sharing would be restricted to trowels, not needles. “A pipe dream of Eden”, I thought at first, telling the director that it was unlikely to happen – that the homeless were essentially a selfish, transient bunch (no matter how much we might want to help them) and that they would never stick around long enough to dig more than a few spadefuls of dirt, never mind see it through to harvest.

He looked at me sternly, over the top of his glasses, and firmly told me that this was my chance to prove my commitment to the cause – to do something outside of my comfort zone – to engage in a collaborative project which would rely on the homeless proving themselves to me.

“Give it a try”, he urged. “Let them show you that they aren’t all like Anitra. They won’t all hurt you. I’ve already got other shelters keen to be involved – we’re going to make a real go of this, for the sake of the whole community. And I want you to be there. Let their efforts begin to heal those broken chords in your heart.”

Grudgingly at first, then with increasing excitement, I pitched up each weekend in my scruffs and boots, greeting familiar faces, new faces, old co-workers, and together we scythed and burnt and stripped the patch of wasteland of its shroud of weeds and litter, huddling together around the bonfire, drinking tea from thermos cups and enjoying an easy camaraderie. We toiled and tilled, our backs bent as we broke the clotted soil open and let in new life, planting ready for harvest, and transforming the formerly useless into something beautiful and practical (a process we could hear echoing in our souls).

Garden (2)

True enough, people came and went over the ensuing months – both the homeless and the homed were inconsistent in their participation, but a core of people never failed to show up and gradually my faith was restored. All was well in the garden.

Until she arrived.

The minibus from one of the other shelters disgorged its usual huddle of volunteers, and there she stood amongst them, looking around her with curiosity and a genuine interest in her eyes.

Gone was the look of haunted desperation. Her stick-thin figure had filled out, leaving her looking healthy. Clean? Who knew, but the pinched look had left her eyes, and her skin was no longer grey. I experienced the curious feeling of my soul simultaneously flying up into a crescendo, and crashing into the dirt, and I turned away, not ready to face her yet; unsure of how I’d react once we were standing in front of each other again.

I was sullen that day, and in spite of the sunshine baking my neck and shoulders, a chill remained inside, my heart dark and my digging rendered vicious by those painful memories:

Holding her close, watching her finally relax and give in to peace once the storm of tears was over. Her smile of genuine happiness when I said I’d do all I could to help her get back on her feet. Her jeering, insouciant eyes as she mocked me for caring. Her jutting chin and bold defiance as she told me that she was beyond help and that the therapy group were all clueless dickheads. Her glazed, unfocused eyes as she reached for me, spewing lies and violent words…

The next weekend she was there again, and I still didn’t let myself look at her, my tongue now laden with a week’s worth of angry barbs, prepared for her next attack, however it might come guised. She noticed me, though, and I caught her in my peripheral vision, staring at me then starting towards me. I turned away swiftly, and she didn’t materialise, having presumably thought the better of it. I pruned several rose bushes so harshly they ended up as near stumps, taking delight when one raked me with its thorns so that I could hack and slash at it, turning the branch into ribbons of mulched waste.

I waited for her to leave, but as summer progressed, she was there every week, without fail. She worked diligently, quietly, making no effort to intrude on my hurts, letting them quell with time as I became used to her presence again. A peaceful presence, this time, which gradually soothed the jags and corners of my anger, allowing my heart to re-focus and revel once again in the delight of the growing garden – in the beauty of the place we’d crafted together – and immerse myself in the scent of sunshine on freshly-turned earth, the flowers spilling their fragrance over cupped petals into the air, and the sound of honeybees as they busied themselves amongst the abundance.

The vegetable garden swelled and proliferated with good things as they came into ripeness with the season – simple foods planted quickly to give us a sense of achievement: squashes, marrows, a giant, orange pumpkin and a climbing, green tangle of beans.  We tended, watered and weeded, smug looks being exchanged around the team as we surveyed our success.

 

I stood one afternoon in golden light, infused with the richness that only the middle of autumn can bring – when the orange and red hues in the trees seem to pour their notes forth into the air and mingle with the lighter warmth and deeper resonance of the sun – and watched a red-breasted robin flitter down and peck through the freshly turned earth, searching for bugs. A step behind me caused him to take flight, landing in a nearby tree, where he cocked his head, fixing us with a beady, black eye before opening his beak in a glorious torrent of song.

A whistle echoing his song was released into the air, fluting past me, my ears not deaf to its beauty even as they pounded with anxiety and I turned to see Anitra standing there. A half smile stretched her lips as her eyes darted, making only glancing contact with mine, which I could tell had narrowed, feeling my guard coming up like shutters closing behind them.

“Nina…”

The sound of my name was all it took: the slap rang out, my hand stinging as I watched her head snap back. I was shocked because I hadn’t known I was going to do it, nor that I had such force within me. She reeled away from me, clutching her now-reddening cheek, the imprint of my fingers clearly visible. From the corner of my eye I saw the robin fly away, scared, and heard a sudden ripple of whispers travel out across the garden, where everyone had frozen, like statues at a children’s party.

The atmosphere was charged. No-one moved, and my narrowed eyes bore down into a full glare, my jaw tightening, turning my face into a stony mask.

She hesitated, then seemed to make her mind up, stepping back towards me. She dragged her eyes up to meet mine, and in a strained voice disseminated a clipped version of her time since I’d seen her last.

“I found somewhere – I didn’t go back to the streets. You insisted that my life could be better, and I wanted to try again. I didn’t know you were doing this: I got involved through the shelter who took me in, cos now I’m alright, I’m trying to help – trying to give something back. When I saw you here, I was glad, because I thought we could try again too, and that I might have a shot at fixing what I broke. If you don’t think so, I’ll go now, and that’ll be the end of it. And I’m playing again. Not well, and not often, yet, but I thought you’d like to know.”

“So…” her voice trailed off as she looked for my response.

I turned away from her, raising my hands and clasping them, fingers laced behind my head. I attempted to blinker myself from the world with my own elbows, breathing shakily, deeply, and trying to figure out what to do next.

The skies held no answer, just memories zipping past my mind’s eye, accompanied by seventeen jangling, clashing soundtracks and the timpani of my pulse.

I closed my eyes and willed them not to spill over, then exhaled at length, shaking my head, bewildered as I heard her start to walk away.

Then I heard it. A pause.

We turned at the same moment, briefly dipping back across the years into that old synchronicity as we said, in unison “Can we just go for coffee or something?”

She grinned and I rolled my eyes, the mood transforming instantly to a lighter pitch.

Around us, the garden came back to life as the people resumed their work, realising the spectacle was over. Anitra fetched her gardening tools over, and set up alongside me as we busied ourselves harvesting the beans, chatting as we waited for the end of the day.

At some point in the fading afternoon, the robin returned to his perch and began to sing for us again.

warning fiction

Lizzi

I’m a deep thinker, truth-teller and seeker of Good Things. I’m also silly, irreverent and try to write as beautifully as possible. My thoughts are prolific and can be found at my blog, Considerings

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Considerings

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LRConsiderer

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LizziR/posts

Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/LizziConsiderer/

 

 

The Wasted Minstrel

When I very humbly requested Lizzi of Considerings to guest post for me, and she immediately said, “Yes,” I jumped up and down, clapping my hands.  I may have even performed a cartwheel.  Excitement?  No.  Elation.

Lizzi has a way with words, to completely understate her talent.  As my eyes travel through her stories, her fingers reach out from my screen and wrap themselves around my heart, yanking it, tugging it, and turning it to putty in her palm.  She makes me laugh.  She makes me think.  She more often than not makes me cry, and I never cry.  She is brilliant.  A Writer.  A wordsmith, and she’s here today with  Part Deux to Shadows and Stardust.  Make sure and click the link to read Part One, a beautiful story inspired by yours truly.  To be called a muse by one of the most beautiful writers I’ve ever laid my eyes on,  both humbled me and made my heart grow at least three sizes.  So, please welcome my dear friend, Lizzi,  whose words will sink into your soul.  Then get ready to want more.  She’s good like that.

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The town’s main street was thronged with people, huddled like penguins inside their winter coats; braced against the cold but determined in their quest to purchase. They were bedecked in bags, like peculiar woolly bumblebees, each surrounded by an ethereal cloud of their own steam – breath puffing words into visible clouds as they hurried past.

I was honeybagged myself, straining against the weight of New Things. The once-straight handles twisted and turned, cutting the circulation off in my fingers and combining with the chill air to freeze them into reddened claws – travesties of the hands that once were.

I navigated my way out of the main streams of people, cutting across others, ducking behind groups of chattering teenagers, taking big steps and little ones, my feet mindfully stepping the complex dance of Saturday At The Shops – avoiding dreamy couples, Stormtrooper mothers and cantankerous old women wielding their roll-along shopping trollies like tartan-coated weapons.

Seeking shelter in an eddy by a side-route off the main street, I found space to pause, down bags and rub some life back into my twisted hands. Leaning back against the building, I watched the crowds as they flowed past, marveling at their individuality and simultaneous mass-anonymity, wondering what their stories might be.

Hands warmer, I turned to gather up my bags once more when an alcove doorway caught my eye – fifty yards back from the river of humanity, it wasn’t so much the door which caught my attention as it was the small movement of a fabric-coated lump stuffed into the bottom of it – someone was there.

Like I’d been run through with a trident of guilt, compassion and the urge to DO something, a great pain welled up in me and I stood, transfixed, before moving towards the bundled person. I could see a pair of battered, tough boots poking out from under one end of what turned out to be a filthy camping blanket. A fluffy hat at the top end gave no clue as to what sort of person lay beneath.

Drawing by Lizzi Rogers

Drawing by Lizzi Rogers

I crouched down and hoped that none of the expensive-shop shopping bags were on display as I reached out and gently patted the crusted edge of the blanket “Hey – are you alright? Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Yeah”, came back an obstinate, female voice “You can fuck the hell off.”

The blanket shook and the hat bobbled upwards as the owner’s face came into view in a fury of movement “Who even asked you to…”

Her voice trailed off, and the retort I had been about to utter froze on my lips and disappeared as though dropped off a cliff.

Our eyes locked, and the thrall of horror at seeing a homeless person trying to survive the inclement weather turned to raging, devastating pain as I realised that this homeless person was known to me. I recoiled, my hand flying to my mouth in dismay and her name bursting out with the same lack of control as the time I’d first spoken to her:

“Bravo!”- it had exploded, unbidden from my lips as the echoes of her last crescendo faded and the bar seemed to shimmer in delighted silence in recognition that a masterpiece had just been played within its walls. She had sworn at me then, too, and our eyes had met, sparkling with delight at the soul-thrilling music she’d been able to coax from the old piano. We’d talked and worked together, and later she had played again.

I had returned to that bar many times to hear her play – turning up near closing time as she volunteered to stay behind again and wipe the place down once the drunks and revelers had all been kicked out. We spent several glorious months in this way – her playing and me clearing the glasses and sweeping the floors, our souls dancing with the notes as she gave them life with her magical, talented hands.

Suddenly, one day, she was gone. No explanation. Just gone. It had been five years, and I still missed our evenings of splendour; never since had I experienced such exquisite playing as that which she had wrought for me…

“Anitra?!”

Her blonde hair, now freed from its cover in her thrashing, was lank and dull. Her skin was grey and marked with sores and scars, as though the moon had been stretched over her sharp cheekbones. Her eyes were still a gorgeous, clear hazel, though they looked like deep wells of pain, waiting to pour out in anger and shame at the slightest provocation.

The moment lengthened, eyes still holding, hundreds of unspoken, frantic conversations passing between us as my throat choked-up, and the weight of emotion made it hard to breathe.

Finally, sotto voce, I whispered, her name imbued with the hurt of every lost evening and all the unheard notes, mantled with grief at finding her this way: “Oh, Anitra…”

We crumbled together, oblivious to the slowly-gathering audience in the shadows. I pulled her stinking, bird-light frame into my arms and held tight, even as she clung to me, mumbling into my shoulder that it was so, SO good to see a friendly face.

We clambered to our feet and hugged properly then, smiles and tears mingling, when suddenly I felt her stiffen, and heard her intake of breath as she pulled back, her face a mask of revulsion.

A gravelly male voice from across the road struck at us through the air “Ohhhh Annie – look what you’ve pulled in. Good girl! She looks like a rich one. Make sure you give that posh bitch your best licking – she’s gotta be worth a few quid. Don’t take less than £50, will you? I’ll be back for mine later.”

Transformed once more into a hard-faced street-walker, Anitra’s chin jutted and her eyes blazed as she snaked an arm around my waist and pulled me around to face the man, whose oiled hair and dark, greedy eyes raked over us both. The two louts who stood behind him were nudging one another and grinning, one making lewd gestures at us, poking his lapping tongue between the V of his fingers, and rubbing together the fingertips of the other hand in the universal sign for money.

“Oh Dominic”, she trilled, her voice light and dripping with false honey “sweetheart, I’m going up in the world, and with that, my prices. If you want this” – she grabbed her crotch and tilted her hips towards him aggressively – “you gotta pay me more. As of now.”

The oily man’s face registered a sneer of disgust as he turned, motioning for his cat-calling henchmen to follow him. By my side, the bravado gone, Anitra sagged against me and then pulled away roughly, her face burning red, unwilling to meet my gaze.

Hair curtained again around her, reminding me of our first meeting, her voice was equal parts ashamed and horrified as she blundered through an incoherent string of apologies, ending with a declaration to make herself scarce and never bother me again, and that she was sorry for everything, and for running away without telling me, and that life had been so harsh to her, and that she couldn’t, she just couldn’t…

I cut across her, mid-sentence “Can we just go for coffee or something? Somewhere warm? I’m freezing. And confused. So my treat, okay, but please let’s not stay here any more.”

She glanced at me then, and the wells of her eyes had been covered over – shuttered with a closed look she wore like armour.

“No. I don’t think so.”

Her voice shimmered down from frantic to automaton. Her joints tightened and the corners of her eyes looked pinched. She stared into the mid-distance for a moment before stooping to gather up her blankets from the floor, rolling them into a grimy ball, which she stuffed into a giant, tattered backpack.

“It’s been good to see you again, babe. Sorry I turned out like this. I wish things were different. In another world, we’d go for coffee and everything would be made better and the music might come back into my life. But seeing you was like a symphony, and it’s just reminded me how much I miss it. So no, we can’t go.”

She twisted away from me, striding towards the end of the street, pausing as I cried her name out, anguished this time, and ran to her, emptying my purse of all its paper money and stuffing it into her hand, arguing that she didn’t need to leave; promising her things could be better, if only she’d let me help her – please, please let me help her…

She stuffed the notes into her pocket, but didn’t turn. And without further word or look, strode off, rapidly disappearing into the still-teeming currents of the main street.

As fresh tears fell, tracking warm runnels down my freezing face, I vowed to myself on that desolate street that I would find a way to somehow bring the music back to her.

 

warning fiction

My Photo

I’m a deep thinker, truth-teller and seeker of Good Things. I’m also silly, irreverent and try to write as beautifully as possible. My thoughts are prolific and can be found at my blog, Considerings
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConsideringsTwitter: https://twitter.com/LRConsidererGoogle+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LizziR/postsPintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/LizziConsiderer/

Lovepocalypse Take 2

That phone call set my heart to flight.  Brendon, who I had a huge high school girl crush on, just called me at my mom’s house and asked me on a date.   It was Friday.  He suggested that we go to dinner on Saturday night, but I had to waitress at the piano bar, so I begrudgingly said “no.”  He thought for a second and then told me that he already had plans that night with some friends to meet at Blues, the bar next to the hospital.  He invited me to join them.  He didn’t know my age.  18.  He offered to pick me up, but I told him I would meet him there.  I was nervous and socially awkward, and I wanted my own car in case I needed to bolt if my anxiety got out of hand.

I drove to my apartment giddy with excitement about our impending date.  I appealed to my best friend/roommate to find me the perfect outfit since I had/have zero fashion sense, and Brendon had never seen me in anything but my hospital uniform:  Green polo shirt and khaki Dickies.  She found something she said was perfect “first date at a bar” attire that most definitely would make him swoon.  I looked at the outfit, bit my lip, and shrugged my shoulders.  I had only been on a few dates and had very little experience with men, and Brendon was a man.  A beautiful Latin man.  So I took her advice and donned something other than my usual t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers.

I walked into the bar feeling out of place without my normal gang of hospital friends, tugging at my shorts that I was certain were at least 2 inches too short and pulling at the shirt that hugged me a little too tightly.  Then I saw him.   He was sitting at the bar, drinking a Bud Light wearing a white Nike baseball cap, a perfect contrast to his tawny skin.  He turned around and noticed me standing in the doorway.  His smile reached all the way to his dark eyes as he walked over to greet me.  He pulled me into his chest in a surprisingly comfortable hug.  “Wow.  You’re here,” he said offering me that killer smile.  “I wasn’t sure you’d come.”  What?  He wasn’t sure I would come.

He guided me to the bar, his hand barely grazing my lower back.  He ordered me a Bud Light and another for himself, and we sat side by side sharing familiar and easy conversation.   We talked about college and classes.  He told me he was 23 and almost finished.  I hesitated but told him I was only 18, that I had just completed my second semester.  He looked at me and said, “You’re just a puppy, Kiddo.”   “Kiddo” would become his pet name for me, a name that I would grow to love being called.

He introduced me to his friends and his brother who met up with us later, and we all talked and laughed, and I found myself floating in his attention.  He was smart and funny and unbelievably sexy.  We closed down the bar.  He insisted that I let him drive me home…in his jeep…with the top off, which took his hotness D&B to a whole new level.  On the drive home, we learned that we shared a passion for music of all kinds.  When we got to my apartment, we sat in his jeep in the parking lot, listening to Fleetwood Mac.  When the last song ended, I reluctantly said, “I better go in.”  He walked me to my door where he planted a soft, sweet kiss on my lips and said, “Goodnight, Kiddo.” He pulled me into him in a warm embrace and let out a quiet sigh that went straight to my…ahem.   I wanted to invite him in, but I didn’t know how.  I was young and dumb, and incredibly naïve.   I opened the door and walked into my apartment, trying to summon the words to tell him that I didn’t want the night to end, but the words never came.  Instead, I just said, “Goodnight.”  He winked and turned to walk to his jeep.   I went to bed smiling, with his scent still lingering on my skin.

The next morning, my roommate drove me to my car.  I started to pull out of the parking spot when I noticed something on my windshield.  A note.  From him.

Can’t wait to see you again. –B        

Just like that, he hooked me even more, and I was in my first “grown up” relationship.  We took advantage of every free opportunity we had to spend together. It was challenging since I worked most nights, but we made it work.  We didn’t see each other often, but when we did, we cherished the time.  We shared a twisted sense of humor and spent most of our time together laughing.  He had the best laugh, and anytime I said something funny, he would grab me either by my arm or my hand, and hold me while he shook with laughter at something witty that I said.

His touch ignited my skin.

He told me I was way too funny to be a girl, which was even better than all of the times he told me I was pretty and smart and perfect.

He took me to his childhood home, introduced me to his mom, and called me his “girlfriend.”   She made us jalapeno muffins and told Brendon to be nice to me when he made fun of something that I said.   After she went to bed, we cuddled on the couch and watched some old movies on her big screen TV.

Another night, he took me to an abandoned mansion rumored to be haunted.  We crawled through the window and crept through the dark empty rooms, waiting for a ghost to jump out at us, my heart pounding in my chest.  But nothing made my heart stutter more than when he pushed me up against the grimy wall, wrapped his arms around my waist, and kissed me.

We spent countless hours at our favorite music store, standing side by side at the listening stations, ears covered with huge plastic headphones, smiles plastered on our lips discovering new music together…all before iTunes and immediate internet downloads.   Our love of music became our bond, another pull to my heart.

He often surprised me and showed up at the piano bar to listen to me play, which was a huge adjustment for me since I preferred to play for strangers.  That first night, he sat at a table by himself.  He didn’t order anything to eat or drink,  just sat there.  Listening to me.  I forced myself not to look in his direction.   I didn’t even notice that he left before I finished.  I was hugely disappointed when I discovered his empty chair until realized later as I counted my tips that he snuck  a comment card in my tip jar that said:

I didn’t think it was possible for you to be more beautiful, until I heard you play. ~B

That night, when I left the bar, he was waiting by my car.

“I got you this,” he said and handed me a CD.  George Winston:  December.  “It’s really a Christmas album, but I think you’ll like it.”

I suggested that we hop in his jeep and go for a drive to listen to it.  As we drove through our West Texas town, the sound of George Winston’s piano mingled with the warm summer breeze.  Then I heard a familiar song, Variations of Johann Pachelbel’s Canon.  He said that he loved this version and that it was his favorite song to hear on the piano.  We drove for hours that night until he took me back to my car.  He gave me a simple kiss, and said, “Goodnight, Kiddo,” handing me the CD.

I drove home listening to my new album and made it my mission to learn his song.   I listened to it incessantly, always playing it in my head.  I spent hours at my parents’ house practicing it over and over.  When they went to bed, I went to the one place that I knew never closed, the hospital chapel, and I banged my way through it until it was…perfect.

The next time he came to listen to me play, I surprised him and played it for him.

That night, I didn’t have to invite him into my apartment.  He practically pushed me through the door.

heart-music