Please fellow readers, don’t be offended, for this is only my opinion, but a lot of the popular music of August 1997 was a disgrace to rock n’ roll. Again, this is only my opinion! Sugar Ray’s “Fly” was #1 on the charts in these days. We heard this song so much on the radio that I thought my head was going to implode. I would have gladly heard Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat” ringing beneath my eardrums for seven days straight than have one hour of “Fly” by Sugar Ray. But those suckers in that band knew how to write a catchy, irritating tune!
But I couldn’t hide any longer, and like the irritating melody that it was, the lyrics of “Fly” rang in my mind, providing yet another soundtrack for my love-confused, teenage nicotine heart.
All around the world statues crumble for me
Who knows how long I’ve loved you
I just wanna fly
Put your arms around me baby
I just wanted to fly. All of the time. I was stoned practically every waking hour of the day. Everything in my mental framework was seen through dope vision 3-D glasses. Who knows how long I had loved my ex-girlfriend and then best friend Harmony. It seemed like a lifetime to my hormonal self… really it was two years. Yet here I was, living out a full-on sexual and emotional relationship with my current girlfriend, Madiera.
Madiera and I weren’t only a serious item. We were pot buddies. We both loved to get high… all the time. Yet I knew that I had to break it off with her… I knew that my feelings for her were clouded by my desire to be with Harmony.
Harmony and I definitely didn’t talk like we once had throughout most of the summer of 1997. But when August rolled around she began to appear in my life again. She was on the verge of her sophomore year, and me my junior year. She was more beautiful than ever to me. A young hippie chick with long brown hair who loved Led Zeppelin and smoked weed. She was my close friend, and the truest love my naïve mind and soul had ever known.
Madiera left for a weekend to go and visit her friend, Andrea, at Bowling Green University in Ohio. It was my chance to re-connect with Harmony. I set up a time with her to hang out. I called her on the phone on a cool summer evening…
“Hey, how’s it going?” I said,
“Good! How’s it going Ben!” She replied in all her perceived luminescent perfection.
After some small talk, I went for it; “So do you want to go and hang out at the park tomorrow? The weather’s supposed to be good. We could have a few beers or something.”
“Uhhhh… yeah Ben, that’d be alright. But are you sure you want to drink in the park! That’s like totally illegal! You’ve gotten really crazy in these past few months, what happened to you. And would it be ok with Madiera? Aren’t you guys still going out?” She replied.
“Oh no worries. Madiera knows that me and you are just friends Harmony! C’mon, it’d be good to hang out! It’s been too long! And it’s cool- we’ll find a spot to drink in the park where we won’t get busted.”
“Ok Ben… then do you want to go to… Hudson Springs Park?”
I couldn’t believe it. Was she really into me like I was into her? She was going to come and hang out with me… alone, in the park! And she was going to drink with me… alone! In the park!
“Sounds cool to me- wanna meet at like 12 noon?”
“See you then!”
Adrenaline was surging in my veins as I lit up a cigarette that night after getting off of the phone with Harmony. I couldn’t wait to see her. Would I be able to contain myself? Harmony and I had been friends for two years. We had dated once for a couple of months. We had never kissed because I was so nervous around her! Now here I was, no longer a virgin, and she still was.
It’s difficult to explain the twisted mind that was within my cranium. I felt that now I was more experienced, I could approach Harmony with more confidence. I knew she was jealous about Madiera. I had told her everything… what Madiera and I had done. After all, Harmony and I were friends, right? Yeah right. I was using the experience to make her jealous. I thought it would make her want me more. I was narcissistic, like Pete Townshend wrote and Roger Daltrey sang in The Who‘s “Behind Blue Eyes”;
But my dreams they aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That’s never free
But in all of my vainglory I had a whisper of love. The Greeks would have called it Eros and Phileos… a combination of romantic and friendship love. This was a love that I felt heavily for Harmony. I wasn’t capable of unconditional love… I had no way to tap into that extreme power… at least not yet. My conscience was empty, and the way I expressed my love was all too selfish. I suppose if I would have actually put Harmony before myself all along she wouldn’t have ever questioned or denied my sincerity or character. Nonetheless, my chance with her had arrived.
We met at Hudson Springs Park at noon. It was a cooler summer day in the upper seventies. I had acquired a six-pack of Molson Golden beer, and had a full pack of fresh Camel Light cigarettes and a blue lighter in my pockets. I put it in a backpack to remain inconspicuous to any legal bullies roaming about. Hudson Springs was about a half hour walk from my house, so I went on foot to meet her. Even though I was sixteen I was literally too lazy and stoned all of the time to try and get my driver’s license. Plus, I had so many older friends that carted me around it didn’t seem to matter to me. One caught up in a life of hedonistic addiction doesn’t care about personal progress, as much as they care about the next kick.
And there she was standing in the gleaming daylight, a phosphorescent seraph. Harmony was beautiful to me. I was a young kid in a puppy love daze. I still remember the fuzzy light blue short-sleeve sweater shirt and bell-bottom-like jeans she was wearing, with her long brunette hair parted down the middle.
I had a continual agenda of intoxication. We quickly walked out into an open field where I knew we were alone. We broke out the beers and drank them, smoking cigarettes, laughing awkwardly and potentially falling in love all over again, or maybe for the first time mutually. We each drank three beers. Harmony and I had a strange, paradoxical innocence in much of what we did, even though much of what we did was not innocent. We were friends, and we were beginning to become truly more than that. At one point I just put my arm behind her shoulder and we laid there… looking at the clouds in the sunlit sky and basking in the afterglow of alcohol, hops, and sentiment.
We woke up an hour later. We had fallen asleep amidst the infatuation and beer buzz. We laughed about it. “Whoa, I guess we passed out!” I said. “Yeah, that’s totally crazy!” She replied.
“But I don’t want to be anywhere else” I said back, with a boldness I had never had before with her.
“I don’t either” She replied, as my heart pounded with life and vigor.
I remember rolling over and looking into her eyes. I brushed her hair away from them and almost leaned in to kiss her.
“Wait a minute!” Harmony said. “You’re still going out with Madiera… We can’t do this.”
I sheepishly and unwillingly agreed, so as to appear somewhat honorable. “Yeah, you’re right. I need to break up with her.”
Harmony and I walked away from that scene. It had been a whole two years that I had known her and been completely crazy about her. We had never kissed before. We came close to having our first kiss ever but it didn’t happen. I needed to break the news to Madiera when she came back from Bowling Green.