Here in the dark.
Hearing our laptops hum
Not so softly
I ask you,
what I should write.
“Um, I do not know.”
Imagine those words sung to the melody of Journey’s “Open Arms.” Sadly, Dave did not sing it to me that way. That would have been awesome, though! Seriously! It would. He is busy working and has no idea that while I was thinking about what I should write about, I looked over at him and of course the phrase, “Lying beside me, here in the dark…” popped in my head. And then I saw myself riding in that early 1980s paneled-side-station wagon (or weigh-gun as we say it in Minnesota), to the Journey/Brian Adams concert. I was only thirteen years old. True story. This older kid we knew from church had his driver’s license (obviously). We talked him in to driving us from the Minneapolis Suburbs all the way to St. Paul. I believe Melanie, my BFF, her boyfriend, Mike and this other dude went along. We sung in our hairbrushes all the wat as we listened to the awesomely awesome words of “Open Arms” during the forty-five minute drive to the show. Now that I think of it I, swear my brother Bill was there too. Were you, Bill? Maybe there were more people. Wait. Maybe it was Anna Oelkers not Melanie. I cannot remember. Mel or Ann, you must tell me, please! [UPDATE 12:48 PM MST, I just heard from Anna. She was there, but went with others. It was Melanie. I should have gone with me first instincts.] They both dated Mike. I was young, naive and was really focused on one thing. I needed to hear MY song, Journey’s, “Lights.” “Faithfully” was for the masses and I was (am) an Outlier. I still remember standing there, swaying along with my imaginary lighter. I did not smoke and it was eons before the fake-lighter-iPhone App arrived. And when the song began playing live, well, I burst. I could scream now. I would scream just thinking about it, but I think I might scare Dave. Please, please do not tell thirteen-year-old me that I have moved on in my musical taste. Fourteen-year-old me found U2’s Unforgettable Fire and sixteen-year-old me fully immersed herself into The Cure. Please. Thirteen-year-old me was earnest, eager and hopeful. She had her moment and I will never take that away.
Music was a big deal in my house. My sister loved Led Zepplin. My brother loved STYX. My mom adored Johnny Mathis and I was determined to find not only my own band, but my favorite song. Take that, “Stairway to Heaven”, “Babe” and “Chances Are.” I found Journey and I had “Lights.”
Feeling like I have been so intense I needed to lighten it up. My day-to-day is currently routine except for this pounding headache I have been carrying around. My friend Teresa says it is because, “Um Beth, you lost a lot of blood and you are not drinking enough water.” Ok. She is correct. It is hot. It reached over one hundred degrees in this high desert heat today and I could stand to hydrate. Instead of running to the kitchen for another giant glass of water I am heating my abdomen with this laptop and remembering days when I was way too young to think about hospital bills, wanting to punch pregnant ladies, soccer camps, husbands who work all night or even know that people really do lose their babies. All I had to worry about is convincing my parents that this teenage boy could safely drive me far away so I could hear my dream. And until tonight I never realized how simple that song really is, with its few and repeating lyrics, it didn’t matter, it was my song and that was my night.
8 thoughts on “Lying Beside Me”
I think I was at that concert? Not sure? I can’t remember if I was at the Civic Center or the Met Center (hmmmm wonder why?)We decided to go at the last minute. Our seats were almost behind the stage, but not quite. It was cool because we could still see the show and we could see the back stage antics too.
Stay hydrated! I can relate to those punchy moments.
One of the downsides of being the oldest in a sheltered environment is that the oldest isn’t exposed to the popular music of the day while young. I always felt like I was playing catch-up to others of my age to learn what was popular. I didn’t even own a record until I was nearly 18. And then I got in trouble for it (not for the actual music, but because it cost money that I should have saved up for college). I never went to a rock concert until I was 20. And now, the woman who gave me grief for one record owns hundreds of CDs. I like to point this out to her every chance I get. Then she glowers at me.
Journey songs always remind me of stake dances and being overly dramatic and thinking that I HAD TO BE IN LOVE and SOMEONE HAD TO BE IN LOVE WITH ME OR I WOULD DIE. Remind me next time I see my 16 year old self to slap her (not very hard) and tell her to sit back and enjoy life and the music.
I was (and probably still am) quite clueless.
Embarrassingly I have seen Journey multiple times as an adult, the last time with a Filipino lead singer who was probably not born in 1982 (I’m guessing!) I have also seen Robert Plant, KISS, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Def Leppard, Night Ranger, Foreigner, Aerosmith and the Eagles to add to my chagrin! I think the music brings me back to a simpler, uncomplicated time that part of me would love to have back. 🙂
13 year old you doesn’t need to know about U2 for a little while. We won’t tell her if you won’t. Take care of yourself.
Brenda, I checked and there were several Journey Concerts the traveled through Minneapolis/St. Paul in the late 70’s – mid 80’s. There was only one three day concert engagement with Bryan Adams. Would be cool if we ended up at the same one and didn’t know it.
Staying hydrated. Hope you are too! <3
Sara, you are cracking me up and if I know your mom, I am sure she owns hundreds of CDs. Hilarious! I hear you on being the oldest. In our house, we paid a hysterical price. All my friends were listening to Pop Music and I was the strange little elementary school kid who knew all the words to David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie), Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith (early Aerosmith, that is) and Pink Floyd. My little disco-loving girlfriends could have cared less that there was another Brick in the Wall. Yet I guess this is another good reason I do not mind being the youngest. 🙂
Journey songs totally remind me of Stake Dances and crazy, intense teenage love, especially, Faithfully and Open Arms. And if you could Huggie Bear Dance with a special guy, you were the bomb!
I will slap you if you promise to slap me! You are awesome!
Nani, you are cracking me up. I love that you have seen all those bands and continue to see them. I hope when you say Night Ranger they sang, “Sister Christian,” and I hope you sang along, loud and proud! I agree. Music totally brings me back. Thans for your comment!
Erin, Thank you! I agree! Enjoy the Journey while you can! 🙂