Saturday, September 28, 2013

Serial Saturday: Suggestion Box #10

Featuring the Suggestions of Andy Poole.

The List:
-San Fransisco Bay area
-Electric A-frame guitar

The Result:

"Thank God it's Friday," she groused to herself as she trudged along the Embarcadero of Fisherman's Wharf. As if the iconic location wasn't crowded enough with all the tourists, many locals took the Labor Day Weekend to enjoy the landmarks and sights. She scowled and twisted a lock of her dirty auburn hair as if it were a talisman to make all the people around her disappear. After a lifetime of just wanting someone to be with who actually cared about her, she felt the crushing irony of Fate's ever-turning wheel as she screamed at the jostling crowd, Leave me alone! Just go away!

Funny; just a few hours ago, she'd been screaming the opposite at the slamming apartment door in Los Angeles. One nine-hour bus ride later, and she felt like slamming the door in his face the next time she saw him. We'd see how he liked it then! She thought maliciously. See if he would think her too soft and too tame for him then! She kicked at a discarded beer can and bit her lip against the sobs. What would her mother say if she saw her now? Stop crying! The clear, strong voice echoed through the caverns of her memory. You brought this on yourself. Didn't I warn you he'd be trouble? Didn't I say that kind of love was fleeting? She had to stop and lean against the railing to catch her breath, losing the battle with her emotions.

Didn't you learn anything from the day your father left?

She gasped and heaved, willing the moisture back under her eyelids. Her stomach gurgled at her. She pushed off from the railing, and concentrated on guiding her steps toward somewhere--anywhere. This town was a stranger to her. She absently milled behind crowds of enthusiastic gawkers. Anything to take her mind off him--Off both of them, her mind advised her.

As she crossed what seemed like the umpteenth block, she heard music coming from somewhere--fresh music, not the canned stuff being pumped out of every tavern and passing car radio. She looked up, intrigued for the first time that day. At the end of the block, a white, old-style facade seemed to radiate welcome. She heard the warm twang of an A-frame electric guitar being strummed gently. She made for the entrance. A sign overhead proclaimed the Silver Cloud Restaurant. She slid in the door, taking advantage of the hostess' turned back to slip in the shadows.
There was a stage against the back wall, with bright floodlights aimed toward it. Sitting on a stool in front of the microphone was a tall young man with light brown, tousled hair. His eyes were closed to the crowd in front of him. She recognized the chord progression, but she couldn't recall where she'd heard it. He strummed a few more lines and then--in a strong, smooth, soulful voice--began to sing along. 

"I listen to her favorite song
playing on the radio
Hear the DJ say loves a game 

of easy come and easy go
But I wonder, does he know?
Has he ever felt like this?
And I know that you'd be here right now
If I could have let you know somehow
I guess

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn.

Was it something I said or something I did?
Did my words not come out right?
Though I tried not to hurt you
Though I tried
But I guess that's why they say

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn..."

She hadn't realized when her vision clouded over, but she had to wipe her eyes to return to the shadowy restaurant with the tousled-haired musician strumming away on the open mic.
She was spellbound. She couldn't move. She watched him as he bowed to the applause and ducked out of the spotlight. Some random chick got up and started wheezing out a drunk rendition of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", and the spell was broken. 
The auburn-haired rover blinked and glanced over to where she'd seen the young man disappear. She had to meet him; what else could have prompted him to sing a song that spoke her exact feelings but Fate? She saw him duck out the side exit, guitar case in hand. She fumbled back toward the door.
She saw him climbing onto a motor-scooter. He would be gone by the time she reached that spot. One more hesitation and he'd be gone.

"Wait!" She yelled, running toward him.
He stopped and turned to her, with such friendliness and concern in his blue eyes that she stopped and caught her breath at the unexpected tears that seemed so eager to spill out lately.
They stood next to the scooter, he on one side, she on the other. She could only stand there and stare at him, willing the relationship and the connection to begin at once.
"I--" She willed the words out. "I liked the song."
He smiled (Can I even remember the last time Mr. Los-Angeles smiled at me? she thought). "Thank you," he said, and his voice washed over her again.
"I'm Suzannah," she gave her full name without hesitation. (Funny, she'd been going by Sue or Suzie for the last year or so
He extended a hand. She could feel the callouses on his fingers and palm as she shook it. "Hi, Suzannah, I'm Tony." He glanced down at the scuffed duffel by her side. "Returning home, or just arrived?"
Suzannah sighed. Home; Do I even have a home? "Just arrived in San Francisco. Not sure if it's going to end up my home," she shrugged.
Tony nodded, "Well in that case, welcome. Can I give you a lift anywhere?" He climbed into the seat and started the ignition.
Suzannah eyed the open seat behind him. "If it's no bother--"
"Sure, it's not," Tony nodded over his shoulder. "Hop on."
Suzannah clambered onto the seat and wrapped her arms around his waist.
"Where to?" Tony asked.
"Anywhere," Suzannah answered immediately.
Tony glanced back at her curiously.
She nodded. "Show me the city, Tony!"
He laughed at her enthusiasm and innocence. "Here we go, then!"
They took off under the star-spangled sky.

The 2013 Suggestion Box Series:

#1  #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13