Running Forward While Looking Back . . .

The mischievous grin that pulled me in

Sweet Little Angel by BB King Live at the Regal Theater, 1964

It’s hard not to approach the 26th of March without looking back at the way things were.  Last night Hannah could barely sleep.  You have to understand, the kids all asked to be part of the video we’re making and rather than a fancy, over-produced piece with a professional camera and full light kit.  So we’ve been making the cards, putting together the pieces all hand-made and low-tech.  It’s more Davey and Goliath than Wall-E.

But seeing and hearing all this makes us look back.  Hannah, being the girl closest and nearly tethered to her mother, is having the hardest time.  She sees me editing and begs to see it before it’s finished and then starts to cry seeing the sentiments stated in it.  It makes me happy on one hand because it’s touching her.  It makes me sad because the last thing I want to do is hurt Hannah.  She is by far the sweetest, most amazingly sweet person I’ve met in my life and all I want to do in life is protect her from anyone hurting her.

I look back, though, and find myself swerving to avoid the trees because I’m looking back while trying to run forward.

What you need to understand about my relationship with Andrea is that when I met her I was so far out of her league I cannot believe I even was able to get her to talk to me.  I was the geeky, nerdy sidekick in all those romantic comedies.  When I walked up to women, I was so hurt, so shy, so lacking in self confidence that I stammered and came across like a giddy 16-year-old with no ability to talk to women.  By all accounts she should have turned around and walked back to the party laughing.  She walked back laughing, sure, but only after intertwining her arm in mine and talking to me as she walked.

Andrea would come see me play my guitar and ask herself “why is he up there like that and won’t let that person out when he’s not on the stage?”  She wouldn’t let up.  It was only after I thought “she’s moving away, if she turns me down I won’t have to face her for long” that I actually asked her out.  To my utter astonishment she didn’t say “no” she actually said “it’s about time, I was wondering how long it was going to take you!”  We agreed that she was moving, it wasn’t anything big, we would become amazing friends, have an amazing time, she’d help me look more presentable and I’d help her to enjoy herself without being in a frat party filled with college Greek idiots. (no offense, not all of them are, but she couldn’t get away from the idiots!)

She didn’t see the awkward guy.  When she talked to me she talked to the inner “Dave” in there.  This amazing, gorgeous, sultry woman who was so fun, so adventurous and just so sexy ignored the jocks, the Greeks, the Med school students and talked with the silly kid from O’Neill, Nebraska.  I couldn’t figure out why.  I couldn’t understand what she possibly got from being with me, but I wasn’t going to let it go.

One day, while giving me this crazy, mischievous grin of hers, she said “write me a song!”  I must have looked like I was going to be sick.  I wasn’t playing as much in a band and I hadn’t gotten much material played in the band I was in.  “Musicians write songs for their girlfriends all the time, aren’t I worth a song?!”  How do you tell someone like that no?  I stared at her and for two straight days I wrote a song.  I had a 4-track cassette recorder and I put it together, just guitar and vocals, and I played it for her.  I hadn’t realized she wasn’t serious, but she cried when she heard it.

To this day I’ve thought it was too simplistic and too small for her.  She was amazing.  her smile lit my world.  Her life touched mine so deeply that I literally would do anything she asked of me.  I am a tremendous BB King fan and I always said she was “My Sweet Little Angel” after his song.  I told her “I love the way she spreads her wings.”

My Sweet Little Angel

I wrote the song, my brother and I even recorded it, but I never thought it was good enough.  Not good enough for her.  The lyrics, very much like a 19-20 year old would write:
See the girl walkin’ down the street
She’s got that look in her eye
Made me think of all the rough times I’ve had
And changed them all with just one smile
But when the morning comes
I’ll never be alone
She’ll be right by my side
My little Angel
Oh, my sweet angel . . .

Like the morning sun
Or a blessing from above
She helped me learn to fly
Up with the angels . . .

Every card I gave her after that, every letter, every note said “love you, my sweet angel” on it.  You have to understand, as cheesy as this may sound, as totally geeky or religious it may seem, it’s neither.  She was simply miraculous to me.  She had no business being with me.  You can look at me, tell me I’m wrong, tell me what I gave her all you want and you’ll never get me to change my mind.  This isn’t the lack of confidence coming back, you can look at that photo: that gorgeous smile, the sexy, sultry, mysterious look; the twinkle and sparkle of her smiling eyes, and you can never tell me that any man was worthy of it.  I wasn’t.  I was lucky.  I was grumpy, shy, scared and just thinking that I was doomed to a life of being alone.  There seemed no way that I’d end up with anyone, let alone someone so amazing.  But there she was, right by my side, waking up next to me every morning, her hand on my chest, her breath against my skin.  I would wake up thinking it was a strange dream.

Now I’m 359 days into my new story.  I wake up knowing it was a dream.  I had it good and perfect for awhile.  It’s like she taught me what to do and then said “that’s it, my love.  I have to go home now.”

I move forward every day, the workday being the easiest part of my day, then I get home and do the home chores and dinner and bedtime and wash, dry, dishes . . . then the evening hits, and I can do nothing but look back.  Every day I find some new thing from her, some old picture or note that I wasn’t looking for and I feel the wound in my soul hurt a little more.

I’m moving forward, but not moving on.  Not right now, at the very least, if ever.  It’s hard to walk when you learned to fly with angels.


Starting tomorrow, there will be a lull in posting for the blog.  We are finishing up plans for the video and the anniversary.  Please check in, I’ll post occasionally, and on the 26th, the revised “My Sweet Angel” with our video will post.  A celebration of Andrea and of our new story.  Please join me in celebrating her on that day!

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