Love is a fleeting moment. Sometimes it flashes past you like a shooting star. And it disappears into the dark.
In this life, 34 summers ago, I was playing some video game at Show Biz Pizza, which would become Chuckie Cheese. I seem to recall that Show Biz had good pizza and Chuck E Cheese not so much, a step ahead of Little Caesar's maybe? I don't know, I was working a shit job, and Friday I get paid enough to dump about 5 dollars worth of quarters into the video games up at Show Biz. Just another wasted night I guess. I think I bought a couple albums at Record Realm, I know Fleetwood Mac Then Play On was one of them, the other I'm not sure, The Rockets Rocket Roll maybe? Anyway, I was minding my own, playing Centipede, when I had some petite woman pop up and started a conversation with me. She wore glasses, sexy in her way, although I didn't care much for her perm hairdo. But I was polite and chatting a spell with her.
Her name was Amy and she lived in town over by Wellington; I consider her place was less of the gang bangers that popped around Beaver Avenue and 15th St. Don't recall her last name; it may have been Holtz of Fultz, it's all moot now. What struck me odd was that I seen her with a dude, which turn out to be her boyfriend. He looked like a Bubba, and had a 4X4 Chevy out in the parking lot. Basically hearing that I excused myself from her conversation and back to the video game. Half hour later she came back and mentioned that her better half went on without her and if I could drop her home. Being the good Samaritan that I am, I did take her home but somehow we got into some sort of conversation and we managed to spend a couple hours at the parking area across from Quaker Oats till about 1:30 AM, after saying a long goodbye.
When I met her I think it was in July. Somehow she managed to look into the phone book and decided to see how many Smith's she could find till she found me. I have to hand it to her, she eventually did. And so I was shocked when my mom called me out of my room to say there was a woman on the line wanting me. I thought it was a crank call. Perhaps it should have been. So we chatted a while and agreed to meet at the mall and spent a couple hours hanging around, or maybe gone to Ellis Blvd to watch the boats on the river. She did give me her phone number and I promised to call back sometime. But throughout those two weeks, Amy would call at night, even after midnight which didn't set well with Mom. So I didn't hear from her in a week, but I did see her and Bubba at Show Biz soon after. The next day she called and wanted to get together again.
We met in the Lindale Mall parking area, and she drove a Mustang a 78 or 79 I think. It was a red one. So I got in and we drove out to Ellis, watching a ball game but I think she wanted more than just going to a ball game. Perhaps she was tired of Bubba and his 4X4 truck. But what did I offer her that he couldn't give? A big record collection? A five piece drum set starting at you when you open the door to the bedroom? It certainly wasn't money, I had none and living at home, and would rather hang at The Record Bar or Record Realm. As much as I wanted Amy to be a part of this life, the problem was that everytime I saw her, she was with Bubba and wouldn't look my way but once he was doing something other, she'd be coming around the corner. Something wasn't right and I'd be dammed if I was going to get into confrontation with Bubba just in case he caught us together. In our conversations I had one eye on her and one eye out in the parking lot, just in case a oversized Ford came barreling down the parking lot.
I recall a moonlit night around 11 PM as we got back to the Mall. She then parked the car and asked "So what do you think of me?" and I mentioned that I thought of her as a friend, even respected her. Her eyes, full of infatuation, lit up the night time skies, maybe a bit of devilish delight, kept persisting "what else"? she kept saying. "Oh I don't know but that new Rockets album Rocket Roll is their best album of 1982, how does that grab you?" But in the back of my mind I'm going OMG, this chick has got the hots for me...(and she has a boyfriend out there that might come out of nowhere and bury me in the mud outside of Ellis Park too). Somehow between the bantering and plodding, she managed to whisper out a quick I love you.
And then it got quiet. Real quiet.
You what? (granted in the moment of infatuation people will blurt out something like I love you just to see what kind of effect that will give you-At that moment, the last person that said they loved me was some ditzy freshman girl in high school, and that caught me off guard too). It's been years since anybody said they love me, even in jest.
I think the silence from me kinda took Amy by surprise. Somehow we jested about it once about going to bed (typical early 20th banter but she did say Could we?). My goodness she is serious about this?! I'm seeing things changing before my very eyes and all Amy had to do was lean over and slowly throw her arms around me and give a soft kiss. And then my defenses would have been down and life would have been very much different. But in that pregnant pause, it did recover me to the point that all of a sudden this wasn't going to work out. And I wasn't going to come between her and Bubba. After a few more exchanges of what's wrong with me or whatever the case may have been, I finally mentioned that I cannot love her in the way that she wanted me to love her. I basically, that I do love you (in a way) but I cannot touch you since you are seeing Bubba (since he at that time gave her a engagement ring a week before this encounter). And I'm not about to come between both of you. She then smiled and said "we can still be friends?" Of course, and then I held her hand for a few minutes. And then we both went separate ways and back home.
She might have called once or twice afterwards but I think even she knew that she wasn't going to leave Bubba. And I don't think we were meant for each other, she didn't care much for my friends or family, and she certainly wouldn't want a drummer/record collector in her life either. A year later I did call her, but her sister mentioned that Amy moved out to be with Bubba. In 1988, when I was downtown Cedar Rapids, I was watching a band with a few friends and I think I saw her with her husband Bubba with a couple of young daughters tagging around. My friend Dennis, pointed toward her and mentioned wasn't that the one who was chasing you at Show Biz years ago? I looked and mentioned "could be". He said, ya know that could have been you with her and the girls. I nodded and said that could have been a possibility. There was a chance that could have come together on a hot July night, but it didn't feel right.
Looking back I think both me and her made the right choice. I'm sure they're still together and perhaps she is now the grandmother and I wish her happiness and best of luck. As for myself, I'm still the record and CD collector and hoarder and drummer and still blog about it here at Record World. And sometimes my collecting habits are very hard to break. Even love loses out to the next batch of music that I find.
It's only life but it is what I do best.
(Parts of this blog taken from the Paraphernalia Chronicles, based on observations by R. Smith (C) 1982 Record Hoarder Communications Inc.)