This post was inspired by The Red Dress Club's Red Writing Hood prompt to write a story based on a song...
“WOOO HOOO!” wailed my brother as he raced down the top of our roof on my scooter. He flew through the air while I held my breath, and he landed in our pool.
My brother’s best friend, Garrett, was jumping up and down in excitement. “Yeah!” he shouted and jumped in the pool after my brother.
It was the summer of 1988, and my brother and his best friend were like two misfits looking for trouble wherever they could, especially while stuck at home in the summertime, and our parents worked.
Although, nothing would have kept them stuck at home. They pretty much did whatever they wanted to do.
I was in awe of them, particularly when they took my scooter and rode it off our rooftop and into our pool.
I was twelve years old, and I was so pitifully UNCOOL in my desire to be liked by them. They were a Very Cool Age of fifteen.
They, of course, hated me. And the fact that I was The Younger Sister, hanging on every word. Following every footstep really did not afford me any points in The Cool Department.
I was just glad to have them around, just for a little bit. They were usually off, like I said, getting into any trouble they could. Increasing the number of gray hairs on my parents’ heads. This added to the already sometimes stressful household of a father who was a recovering alcoholic and a mother trying to keep it all together and working very hard at it.
Ignoring the stress of the adults, a lot of focus was placed on my brother and the trouble he was getting into.
I learned to worry about everyone around me at a very young age.
My parents came home from work, tired and tired of the heat. I kept my mouth shut about the scooter on the roof because I knew what was really good for me.
My brother and Garrett called everyone to the family room.
“Come here, Come here! We want to show you something!” they shouted.
We all came to the family room and sat on the couch, not sure what to expect.
“We’ve been practicing something and you’ve got to see it!” they said as they got a record ready on our player.
My parents and I were silent. Obviously my brother and Garrett were getting ready for a performance. This was a little uncharacteristic for them. This would display a vulnerable side, something they were not used to in The World of Cool. We were tense as we waited for what they had planned.
They took their places. My brother acted as “drums.” Garrett acted as “guitar.” (Nothing better than air instruments, right?) They both sang…er, lip synched.
As the music began, it evoked a slow and sad kind of feeling. Wistful, emotional…
“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair…” the song began.
My brother and Garrett were impressively accurate with their timing – in their lip synching and in the movements of their instruments. My parents and I all smiled and had our mouths open, at the same time.
Eventually, we started moving our bodies to the music a bit, showing our appreciation. We all shared in the moment. Even my brother and Garrett could tell we were impressed. This increased their confidence with the performance, and the pure emotion and movement they gave to it was…beautiful.
The song did its crescendo into the more aggressive guitar and drums in the instrumental last half of the song, and the energy in the room was of pure fun.
Finally, a moment, a break from all the exhaustion, from the heat of our day-to-day.
The misfits got something right. And they knew it. They ended their song with great emotion and gusto, and we exploded into applause and adoration for the uncanny performance.
There would be many more times and other nights that we would demand, “Do it again!” And, they would. Perfecting their timing every time. And, we would marvel at the joy it brought to us, at the moments we were all brought together by something.
In those moments, we were a family. All of us. (Even Garrett – absolutely. Shortly thereafter, he would live full-time with my family for years.) Nothing pressing on us, no needs to chase or fill. Only a little fun. Only a little music…
“…And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...
Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise, bring your alibis…”