Lying Beside Me

Ah, you gotta love some Journey


Here in the dark.
Hearing our laptops hum
At night.

Not so softly
I ask you,
what I should write.
You say,
“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.

Tagged :