Cover Photo by Masayoshi Sukita
I have so many memories tied to the song “Heroes” by David Bowie. They are all from differing times in my life, some good, some not. Today, though, it’s the lyrics that pull me back to a certain time and place. To a certain person.
“I will be king.
you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away,
we can be heroes,
just for one day.
We can be us,
just for one day.”
“Heroes” by David Bowie
from the album, Heroes (1977)
Song Of The Day – September 7, 2011
It all started with a missed flight to Las Vegas. My bags made it on the plane, but I didn’t. Mostly due to the airline over-booking and taking-off ten minutes early. I’d had to run from one end of LAX airport to the other, pleading when I got there for a seat on any next plane. I was determined to get there. My persistence paid off. Five hours late, but I eventually arrived, finding my bags abandoned in the middle of the busy Vegas airport. He was there to meet me, my co-worker at Tower Records, and friend. He’d invited me to come for the weekend, to stay with him, and another co-worker, who were out there working on a new, soon-to-be opening store. He shows up with some newly met friends, one of them who he’d decided to set me up with. Not that he told me this. Not that I’d asked to be set-up at all. He was clueless, as my initial intention had been to see him, and to maybe take a chance and try to be more than friends.
Looking back at that plan of mine, well, I was pretty clueless, too.
The boy at the airport to pick-me up was a safety net. A sure thing (if such a thing exists). Someone who wouldn’t hurt me, I surmised. I’d been hurt before, nearly destroyed by one badly failed relationship that wasn’t that long past, and I had a divorce behind me, as well. I was trying hard to be attracted to what I’d deemed a good guy. My definition needed work, though, as I’d find out later.
Anyway, I digress. The real point of this came later that night at the Hard Rock Cafe Casino. I’d never been a gambler with anything but my heart, and since I’d arrived there thinking I had a safe bet going , I was neither looking to win, score, or impress anyone. I can still remember – vividly – the first moment we locked eyes. It sounds terribly romantic and implausible, in that trashy romance novel kind of way, but it was at the second of eye contact that I was swept completely away. I could even say that right at that “first sight” I fell for him. Yeah, I know. I didn’t believe it could happen for real either.
I was drawn to him in a way I’d never been drawn to anyone else before. It felt like a cord in me was trying to force itself out of my chest, magnetically pulling toward his chest, without sense or regard to propriety, or anything like it. It didn’t make any fucking sense. Not at all.
My insecurities took over soon enough, grabbing a hard hold on the reins, pulling me in. He was the first to speak to me, to start a conversation, and to eventually lead me to go off and sit with him, away from the loud games of roulette and blackjack. He wasn’t a gambler either, not even with his heart, he’d admit. He was well-read, obsessed with music, sarcastic, a little bit shy, and completely beautiful. It seemed as if we could talk forever and never run out of things to say to each other. I think if he’d asked me, right then and there, to run away with him, I would have.
It was later, or earlier, than we realized. When we walked outside the sun was starting to come up. He grabbed my hand as we crossed the street and headed to the hotel I was meant to be staying at. He was humming “Heroes.” I looked up at him and smiled widely. Right then he started to sing:
“Though nothing will keep us together, we could steal time, just for one day.”
We spent more than just one day together, but not that much more. As much as I loved every moment we’d shared, that insecure part in me held me back. It was only a song he was singing, but I wrapped my scared, scarred heart up in those lyrics, choosing to believe he wouldn’t want this thing with me for more than just a brief fling. I was wrong. Very wrong. And in that wrongness I let him go. Or, to be honest, I let go and ran.
We could have been so much more than just those few days.