I have loved the above quote since I first heard it, and it certainly has proven true to me this week.
As I had mentioned, this week was tough for me at work, as well as at life. On some levels I am plodding forward. I am so much happier in Atlanta than I was in Houston. That doesn’t put me on easy street, however. I am still dealing with the failure of my marriage. I am still still struggling with my relationship with my ex. I so desperately want to come through this with a friendship–a real one. It hurts me to hear the sadness in his voice.
For these and so many other reasons, going out Friday to my old music haunt for the first time since I got back to Atlanta was a big deal. I almost thought I was making too much of a deal of it, in fact. I was so excited that the possibility of disappointment was real. However, disappointment was not in the cards.
I had to change and fluff and go straight from work. I thought I was late, but I was trying desperately not to fret about it. I ran up the stairs and saw Eddie–he is no longer the owner, but the joint still bears his name…so to me he is the personification of a place I love. “Are the doors already open?” I asked. “Nope, you are just in time–10 minutes to go.” I breathe a sigh of relief and go onto the patio to wait. “Hello, Sophie,” I hear. Looking up, I see the performers of the evening. Talented musicians I am now fortunate enough to consider friends. Hugs all around. Then I see Tommy–he has a real job, but works at Eddie’s one night or so a week at the merch table. “Are you back, or just visiting?” he says. I reply that I am back, “Houston didn’t work out so well for me.” I am always unsure how exactly to answer this. I am an honest-out there-don’t really care who knows my business kind of girl, but I also realize that some people want less than I might be willing to offer. We catch up a bit, and then my phone rings. It is a dear friend, calling to give me the results of her mammogram-her six months after treatment for breast cancer mammogram–All Clear she says. We celebrate a moment, then I cut her off abruptly, “Love you to pieces. , but the music is going to start in about 1.5 minutes–gotta run.” I dash into the music room (almost forgetting to stop and get my hand stamped), slip into a seat without a moment to spare.
Ellis has about 9 albums to his credit, and earlier this year took on the project of relearning them os and playing them over a number of shows at his home venue in Boston. Friday he is playing his first two–start to finish. These are the two CDs I purchased the first night I heard him in 1994. From the first notes, I am transported back. There are a few songs that continue in his playing rotation, but many of them have not wandered across my consciousness in ages. He is the first singer/songwriter I fell in love with (musically, of course), and that chance encounter has made profound changes in my life. Hearing the early music takes me back to that first show–I knew at the time it was important–but had no idea exactly how important. I am relaxed, I am content, I am happy.
The scheduled opener had flight difficulties and couldn’t make it. Therefore, Don (who was there as a side-man for Ellis) played a set in her absence. I will refrain from sending her a thank-you card, but I considered it. Bittersweet–Don was the musician who graciously allowed my husband to propose to me on that very stage. Our lives are entertwined–the good and the not so good all blended together–but oh how I adore that man.
My friends joined me for the second show, and catching up a bit was great. They are friends with my ex as well, and I know it is tough to maintain friendships with us both, so I appreciate it even more.
I called several friends during the show to give them “phoners,” trying to pick the perfect song for each. I connect with them as I connect with the music. I stayed out until almost 3 in the morning-despite having awoken at 6–exhausted but worth every minute.
The show didn’t make my life perfect. I still have all the same challenges that I did before it started. However, It left me stronger, refreshed, and hopefully more prepared to face what I will face in the upcoming week. Hard to ask for much more than that from an evening out.