ode to my life saver

Bryan Adams saved my life. I don’t mean he literally prevented me from taking my last breath…Well, not really.

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It was 1987. I was 15 years old and miserable. I was already on my third high school in less than two years because my mom was running from debt collectors. I had literally one friend who lived an hour away. Nobody else would talk to me. I started avoiding looking people in the eyes.

Bryan Adams released his follow-up album to his massive hit record, Reckless. I instantly gravitated to the song that shared the title of the album, Into the Fire. I listened to that album and that song especially, over and over again. I cried and cried. And, for the first time in years, I felt that maybe I really should hang on; maybe there really was a light at the end of that deep dark endless tunnel I seemed to be stuck in.

Soon I learned that Bryan Adams would be coming in concert. I absolutely had to go; I had to survive long enough to at least see him live in concert.

On July 18, 1987 I dressed in my favorite very-worn blue jeans (with holes in the knees) and favorite shirt—a yellow and white vertically striped button down shirt. Of course I popped up the collar and of course I wore my favorite yellow Converse All-stars. I even bought a new BIC lighter to ignite during my favorite songs (of course it died well before the end of the show).

I cried during the show. I screamed and sang as loud as I could, but I cried too. I didn’t scream and cry because OMG Bryan Adams is right there singing to me and he’s so beautiful and lovely and my life will never be the same because I was in the same building with him. That’s not what my screaming and crying was about. Not at all. My screaming was a thank you to him. I didn’t love him because of his face or because he was a Rock Star. It was/is his words, his stories, his music, his passion. That’s what I love about him; it’s so evident to me—always has been—how much he loves what he does.

I guess finding someone with so much love for what he does helped me realize that maybe one day I could love something that much. It gave me hope. He gave me hope.

Twenty-seven years ago, Bryan Adams saved my life.

And one week from today, I get to see him again live in concert during his Bare Bones tour (of which I’ve scored amazing seats!). I’m taking my mom while my husband stays home with my girl (she’s only 4 or I’d probably take her instead). I’m not quite sure what I’ll wear just yet and I definitely won’t be bringing a lighter (but it’s 2014 so I’ll have my cell phone and since our seats are so great, I expect I’ll be taking video and/or photos).

I can’t wait. I’m not holding on for dear life like I was 27 years ago, but I can’t wait nonetheless.

It’s not every day you get to be near the person who saved your life.

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the boy with the long dark hair

General* Elementary School. 1985.

We had just moved and I was starting General as an 8th grader. Of course I was the only new girl. Of course they all instantly hated me. I wore high tops and flannels. I didn’t wear make-up. I listened to Bryan Adams. I didn’t give a shit about fitting in, but it would’ve been nice to have a friend or two.

One girl did befriend me after a week or so. She was the skinniest girl ever. They called her Skeletor. I was evil because inside my head I laughed at this, but only because I understood it…why they would call her that: she was just SO skinny.

I also understood what an asshole that made me.

 

I remember walking home with Skeletor one fall afternoon. Our feet crunched the leaves littering the ground while a motley group of classmates’ cackles, quite a distance behind us, echoed. We didn’t really think much of it till we got outside Skeletor’s home and the group started calling out to us. Skeletor asked if I would be okay going home on my own (another 4 blocks away) or if I wanted to go inside with her.

I was too bad-ass to go in her house; I couldn’t let anyone know that I might actually be afraid of those assholes.

She went home.

I tried cutting through the alley.

The group of kids soon all circled around me. They called me names. Laughed at me. Taunted me. One girl then lunged toward me and took my back pack. They asked if I would cry. They wouldn’t give up. They kept egging me on trying to have a reason to pummel me. Then one boy with long dark hair took my back pack and threw it way up high in the air. It flew over all of our heads and landed more into the alley (we were just at the entrance). We all seemed to watch it fly in slow motion. I followed it by lunging my way out of the group and picking up the bag and running as fast as I could. I didn’t stop running until I got home. That’s when I finally looked to see if anyone else had followed me but, as always, I was alone.

I got into our basement apartment and collapsed against the door in tears. When I got the strength, I went to all the windows and doors to make sure everything was locked.

When my mom finally got home, I begged her to let me stay home; but the next day, not only did I have to go to school, she was kind enough to drive me there—something she never did before or after that day.

I waited till the last possible moment that morning to get in line to enter the school, and that’s when the boy with long dark hair came running into the playground. When he saw that I was the last person in the playground, he stopped running so fast. Our eyes met and before I dropped mine, he nodded his head a bit at me with a grin.

That’s when it dawned on me that he was trying to help me the whole time.

I never really thanked him.

 

 

* not real name

 

 I remember (freestyle memory)