There is a song that is following me around. It all began when the song came on the radio just after I left New Hampshire three weeks ago. It came on the radio twice between Connecticut and Virginia. It came on again on my way to North Carolina.
Which wouldn't be all that odd except I don't have the radio on very often during my travels, preferring to rely on the CD player and select my own tunes while avoiding having to mess with the radio dial.
Today I heard it again, and under the circumstances it was particularly odd. I'd just gotten out of my car after listening to a Dire Straits CD in order to enter the local branch of Chili's Grill and Bar (also known as my church). I walked in to find the same Dire Straits song playing in my car at the time, "The Bug," playing inside this branch office of my church. Then I sat down to order a beer, the bartender introduced herself as Melissa and then looked curiously at me as I froze and said nothing.
Because this song came on again.
Coming up close
everything sounds like welcome home
and oh, by the way
don't you know that I could make
a dream that's barely half-awake come true
I wanted to say -
but anything I could have said
I felt somehow that you already knew
--'Til Tuesday, "Coming Up Close"
(the song that is stalking me)
And then I ordered a beer. And then some food. And then I just sat there, looking lost and somehow enchanted as I sorted through a few things.
I've been haunted by a series of nightmares that began two nights after I landed in North Carolina, staying here trying to earn a little money before moving on to Florida, waiting for my options to become clarified. All these nightmares seem to be screaming at me, "You are stalling! Go back home! Stop sitting still!"
At the moment it just doesn't make sense to continue on to Orlando, Florida, even though my efforts at picking up some temporary work here have yet to bring any results other than the usual rounds of, "Due to the high volume of job applicants and the limited number of assignments..." And my other option is to hook up with a regular full time job here in human services, working again with at risk teens, where I could pick up work just by twitching my elbow, but then I'd either have to commit to remaining here or ditch on a job shortly after taking it. Neither of which appeals much to me. When I consider doing this, the nightmares increase their intensity. My angel and my spirit guides do not want me to stay in North Carolina. They are being very clear about that. I went against their advice in leaving Florida in 1995 and the incoming messages are a clusterfuck of, "Now you go back home, there are no other options."
Of course, I am quite mad to listen to angels and voices that talk to me in my sleep and in visions that spring up even in my waking hours. I doubt not that I am mad.
I was nearly driven mad the first time I started receiving "instructions" to "go where there is no snow" and ended up in Orlando. At that time, ten years ago, I was being hit over the head with signs and arrows pointing the way. By the time I was finally brought to Orlando, by a woman whose opening remarks to me were, "Let's get one thing straight, I will never, ever sleep with you," it was because she managed to fall backwards into love with me and was willing to do anything possible to bring me to the city she called home.
Her name was Christine Lisl.
She loved her middle name, and it helps me differentiate between her and the other Christines who have appeared on my landscape over the years. She had also managed to become completely absorbed in the feelings she had for me that she was unable to explain.
"I have to bring you to Orlando. I don't know why, but I've never had a feeling like this before in my life. I just know this is what I am supposed to do. And anyone other than you might think I was crazy because of this."
"Because you want to be with me?"
"Well, I do, but I also know that will never happen. So why do I have this feeling? I must bring you to Orlando. I must do everything I can to make sure you come here and live here."
"We spent a day together and a night together, and it all started with you calling me a womanizer and a creep. Why is it that you love me?"
"I don't know. Sometimes I think it is because you are a walking, talking X-File and that's my favorite show. Maybe you're just a science experiment for me."
She did everything in her power to bring me to Orlando. She arranged for me to get a moving truck for only two hundred dollars. She found me an apartment and handled all the paperwork and the deposit. She bought me groceries and other things she felt I would need to start my life in Orlando. She got up at four o'clock in the morning on a day she had to be at work at eight o'clock in order to help me move several pieces of heavy furniture up the stairs and into my apartment. She filled a notebook with contact names and numbers for various things I might need. Then she fell asleep on my bed for a couple hours, got up, kissed me and prepared to go back to her own apartment to get ready for work.
But not before she ended our relationship.
"I hope you understand, but I can never, ever see you again."
"You mean like when you said you would never, ever sleep with me?"
"No, this time I mean it. I did what I was supposed to do. I brought you to Orlando and I did everything I could to help you. And now I have to go, because I know you will only break my heart. Keith, you are not and never will be a one woman man, and I can't deal with that. I'm too much in love with you to accept that."
"Buy you a drink in a couple of weeks?"
A couple years later I got a Christmas card from her. It was after I called her in 1999 telling her that things had taken a bad turn for me. She said she would do anything she could to help me, as long as it did not involve seeing me again.
The sign-off on that Christmas card said, "We can't ever see each other again, but if you ever need anything, don't hesitate to call."
It never really made much sense to me, except in the broader sense. Why would she do all that she did... unless that was the definition of the one way she could express her love for me. I was wrong when I told her she didn't understand the meaning of love.
And for that I'll always be sorry. She was far more important than I gave her credit for in the years that followed.
Maybe now is when I'm supposed to call her again, even though it isn't her number any longer.
There was a farmhouse that had long since been deserted
we stopped and carved our hearts into the wooden surface
we thought just for an instant we could see the future
we thought for once we knew what really was important