We're there, far above the clouds, more than 14,000 feet above sea level, and I am trying my best to count all the stars. There are more stars in that sky on that night than I have ever seen in my life before, or since, but I am determined to count every single one.
Occasionally a satellite whizzes right by and I gasp at the intrusion and wonder that there's all that junk in our skies and insist that we can't be polluting the skies in this way, that it can't possibly be that important.
You're strumming your guitar, the guitar that you've carried up the side of that mountain, because you've just discovered that you might even be able to play and it gives you such joy. You may only know a few chords, but you know all the words to all the songs that matter and all you want is to be able to sing the songs that people want to hear. Forever.
We're there, atop the Garden of the Gods, you with your guitar, me with nothing more than my smile of satisfaction that I actually made it to the tippy top without toppling right over the other side and tumbling down like Jill after her Jack when a helicopter appears and someone with a bullhorn demands to know if we're all right?
We're golden. We're sitting on top of the world. We're also just, perhaps, a little bit crazy. A stern sheriff informs us that tumbling down is far more common than not and we're lucky we're even alive. Our hearts have never really been a place where fear has dared to tread, however. Not even for a moment.
The walls of the auditorium are breathing heavily and are soaked with sweat and on stage, on that small stage, the band, our band is gathered around and is carrying all of us together on yet another psychedelic journey that goes on and on and on. We round a corner and smack right into a gay disco fairy complete with platform silver boots and rainbow tights leading an aerobics class for the beat challenged. Without even an exchange of words, we join right in and kick three steps right, two left, high five the person behind and pump our fists as if we've just won the golden gloves. The band kicks it into some higher plane and I can't even imagine how I'm ever, ever going to come back down. I'm grateful you're there to keep me from disappearing completely.
It is you. It is me. It is Clyde. It's one very old couch in a farmhouse far from California. It's an old rotary phone and a call from TB that has shared the tragic news that Jerry Garcia has died. There are tears on my cheeks. What frightens me more are the sobs that wrack your body. I had never seen you cry.
There are firemen in the house. Men in yellow coats and a paramedic and I can not tell you my own name. I have no idea who I am or what day it is or where we are. I just know that I know you. I am certain of you. The rest is a complete mystery and even as I travel the winding slippery mountain roads to the hospital in our sea coast town I have trouble sorting out how I got there, in that ambulance or why it was necessary or where it is that they're taking me. The only thing, the sole thing, the very single thing that is certain is you.
We're in the middle of a corn field. In the middle of Iowa. In a car that no longer seems to want to run. Broken. Down. In that car, in the middle of that corn field, in the middle of Iowa, in the middle of the night, with no where to go and no way to get there, we share secrets and dreams and stories. After all these years of life entertwined like a very tangled ball of twine it almost seems impossible that there would be any stories or secrets left to share.
But there are always more. Layers to take off. We're never, ever, truly revealed. Or naked. Until we absolutely must be.
I am certain, quite, that you will never read this or know that as so many years have finally passed, that as so many years have come and gone, the crisp and jagged edges of my memories of us have softened and turned truly rosey. The real love I always had for you is all that is left for me to hold.
I still do.
Moment's Notice came on the radio tonight as I drove through the dark craggy hills of Utah. I hesitated to turn the station so I wouldn't remember. I turned it up and allowed myself to really remember. Like an old favorite film. All the good. All of You.