Reads: 40

Decision Points

Emptying the Rockstar’s dressing room turned out to be a good move for the beleaguered musician.  The relative peacefulness of only Don in the room resulted in the Rockstar calming down and beginning to reassume his ability to be in control of situations.  He had 3 fingers of Scotch and began to reframe what had happened a scant hour ago on his stage at the Saddledome.  He did so by an unfortunate interrogation of his high school friend and close colleague, Don.  “So here’s what I know,” he uttered to Don.  “We had just started the first song of the final set.  Mark quit playing and fell into the drum kit.  What happened to cause that?”  Don shrugged his shoulders.

“No one knows that just yet,” noted Don.  “The police are calling it suspicious and the stage is now taped off as a crime scene.”

The Rockstar hurled more questions at his friend.  “Where are the band members who were not taken to the hospital and who is with them and ensuring their rights are honoured? Are they are being cared for?” demanded the Rockstar.

“They are in a room nearby and are being interviewed one by one by the police.Artie is with the group and their legal and emotional needs are being addressed.  I have checked in with Artie frequently and everyone is holding up.”

Knowing that his bandmates were being cared for, The Rockstar focused on his sister Lulu and her family, Jody and the band members who were still in the Saddledome.  “Where is my sister and the others with her and who is supporting them?”

“Lulu has been joined by her family and Jody is with them.  Sandie, who was at the concert tonight, found Bobby and they seemed to be taking care of each other.  They are in a nearby room.  The police want to talk to them both.  I had one of the young associates from the law firm we have under contract who was at the concert stay with them.  They will be fine.Artie will call upon other legal associates if he feels the need,” Don reported.

Just then, a scuffling sound was heard outside the door and then someone kicked the door.  Opening it, Don was brushed aside as the 2 burly security guards were literally dragged into the room by an enraged Marley Donahue, one of the members of the garage band of several decades ago.  The Rockstar, recognizing who it was shouted, “Stop Marley! Get yourself under control now!’  Marley complied as if something triggered in his mind from the years past.

 

The band and Jody gathered in the basement studio in the continued euphoric aftermath of the West Hillhurst dance that introduced Jody and her first song.  In response to the patterned Rockstar’s question about what worked well at the gig on Friday evening, all boisterously agreed it was Jody and her song.  Jody, misty-eyed, thanked the band for the opportunity and their support.  She hoped there would be more opportunities in the future.Most of the band indicated a strong yes, but Marley appeared sullen and disinterested.  The Rockstar and Don looked at each other guardedly realizing there was going to be another problem with him. 

Knowing it was time to start thinking about the next gig, the focus shifted to Hounsfield Heights.  Don shared what little he knew about the venue apart from its smaller size and very low stage.  He spoke to the keenness of the community association and the likelihood of a smaller crowd.  His recommendation was to create a somewhat conservative set list.  He did offer that West Hillhurst was so pleased, they wanted to talk about more dates in the future if it included in the agreement that Jody would be performing with the band.  Marley’s demeanour began to take on a more sinister turn for the worst.  Sensing the problem he had created, the Rockstar turned to Jody and said, “My Mom would like to join her upstairs for a cup of tea.  After we finish our meeting, I will be able to take you right home.”  Somewhat surprised, Jody followed him up the stairs.

The Rockstar quickly returned to the puzzled band.  Taking a deep breath, he stood and faced his bandmates.  “I made a mistake today.  I should not have invited Jody to this meeting.  I thought it would be a good idea to include her in our debrief of West Hillhurst.  Currently, there are no plans to have Jody to work with the band other than the development of new songs and maybe guest appearances as deemed as appropriate by me.  These are initiatives I will bring to the to you if and when they arise.  Our focus now is to do our gig at Hounsfield Heights, make our decision regarding playing at the high school grad dance and finish our school year in a successful fashion.  Are there any questions?”  Hearing none he turned the floor back over to Don to share information about the explorations regarding the grad dance.  After a brief and very guarded discussion, it was decided that the Young Ones would play for the Rockstar’s, Don’s and Sandie’s high school grad dance.  The Rockstar asked Don and Marley to remain for a couple of minutes and the meeting was adjourned.  A very subdued Mark and Bobby left the studio.

The Rockstar turned to Marley and asked him if he had a problem he wished to talk about.  After some frank observations, Marley revealed he was not happy with the connection of Jody with the band.  He felt she was not needed either as a songwriter or a singer.  Marley stated, “She adds nothing we can’t do ourselves!  I do not in support of anything Jody brings to the table that takes away from the recognition I for one deserve.”

The Rockstar looked Marley squarely in the eyes and said with little warmth in his voice, “Marley, there are no stars in the Young Ones.  We all get the individual recognition we deserve when we distinguish ourselves by our performance.  Performance includes how well we play our instruments, how well we sing as participants in songs and how well we contribute to the growth and the accomplishments of the group.  You need to park your ego and commit to the band’s performance excellence.  If you are unable to be a positive contributor and supporter of the Young One’s pursuit of performance excellence, you may have to find another opportunity.  Let me be very clear, our personal aspirations and the band’s aspirations are the same!  Do you understand what I am saying?”  Marley offered a meek “yes”.  The Rockstar knew Don would follow-up with Marley later.

The drive to Jody’s home was less positive than the earlier part of the evening.  Jody asked the Rockstar if he was okay and was assured he was fine.  He did mention he needed to resolve a little slip in the focus of the band as a result of the success of the West Hillhurst dance.  In his mind the band just needed to refocus on what we are trying to accomplish by the end of the school year – the determination of the place music will be positioned in our adult life.  Jody reached over and rubbed his arm and offered, “You have such big weights in your life for such a young guy!  Please come in for a cup of tea and talk to me.  We really haven’t had a chance to talk since the dance on Friday night.”

After settling in on the couch with cups of steaming tea, Jody initiated the conversation with a sincere, “Thank you for all you did to make Friday’s dance one of the most significant events in my life.  You have helped me to put some things behind me and know my passion for music has a chance to be real.  I now know I can write songs that people will listen to and enjoy.  I have a confidence that with you, I can perform them.  I don’t want to be a member of the Young Ones but I want to make music and be with you!”

“Jody,” replied the Rockstar, “I am so happy for you!”  “Your story has deeply touched my soul.  I will always be grateful to have been a small part of your metamorphosis from a deeply hurting person to a beautiful young woman who now really knows that she has the potential and the ability to pursue whatever she wants in her life.  Regardless how this works out, your story will always be in my heart.  I want to continue to work on music with you as you have so much to teach me.  I want the Young Ones to play your songs.  I want you to do guest appearances with the band when it is right for that to happen.I want you in my life!”

Fighting back the tears of joy, Jody pleaded, “Please stay the night with me.”

“You know I can’t,” the Rockstar offered regretfully.  “And you know why.”  But Jody did grab him and gave him one of the most passionate kisses he had ever experienced.

The March dance at Hounsfield Heights was a new experience for the Young Ones.  The small community hall shared the property with a public library on a track of land adjacent to the North Hill shopping centre.  The band set up their equipment on the portable stage that was not more than 18 inches higher than the dance floor itself.  The stage was centered on the long wall of the rectangular-shaped building.  Chairs backed along the wall defined the dance area.  Noting this, the Rockstar surmised that this might be more of a performance than a dance.  As the crowd filed in, the Rockstar observed the number of older teens dominating the usually higher number of young teens at other gigs.  He concluded that this might require replacing some of the songs on their set list to more mature pop music to match the demographic.  The number of male parent supervisors indicated that the dance would be well-managed.  Right after the band had their equipment set up, tuned and ready to go, the Rockstar called them together and made some quick adjustments to the set list. 

The adjusted first set went pretty well.  It took a while for the dance floor to be filled to a number that reflected the way a dance was envisioned.  Many of the older teens sat and watched the band intently.  The Rockstar noted that some groups of older teens were watching each other very intently.  At the break, several older teens left the building.  Among them was a group of Black teens.  The Young Ones hung out by the stage as was their routine, seeking to leave their work place only to connect with the audience if there was a need.  As many teens were sitting adjacent to both sides of the stage, many connections were made.  One connection resulted in the relay of information that there was going to be a fight outside.  A couple of gangs from the east and west side of the city were going to clash over the issue of who was tougher and would control the territory in which this community hall was located.  This was totally new information and experience for the band.  Don seemed to know what was going on and was keeping an eye on things.

The dance resumed in a seemingly normal fashion.  The Young Ones put on a good show and the dance floor filled.  During a slight break between songs, a large Black teen came over to the stage, caught the eye of the Rockstar and asked if the band would take requests.  He was told the band would play a request if they could play the song.  The teen asked for a song that the band had never even heard of let alone be able to play.  The teen became annoyed and suggested another song.  Again, it was a tune the band didn’t know.  By now the delay was noticeable.  Don rushed over and asked that the teen step away from the stage front and let the band play their next song.  The teen did so and he and Don were quickly surrounded by the group of Black teens.  Parents rushed in and escorted the group outside.  At the end of the dance, a couple of older teens came over and offered to accompany the band at future gigs and ensure the band would not be bothered by anyone at dances.  The shaken garage band left the community hall with something more to think about than the music for their next community hall gig.

Planning for the final community dance at Rosedale, slated for the latter part of April, started immediately after the Hounsfield Heights gig.  The band, clearly shaken with their first touch with the violent side of music and teen dances in the sixties, intuitively now knew it would happen again.  It would not be a factor at Rosedale.  The Young Ones focused their preparation on creating a great set list.  Mark raised the question about using Jody’s song and whether she would perform it with the band.  The Rockstar acknowledged he really hadn’t thought about it except it being the last Rosedale gig and maybe Sandie should be invited to perform.  Not everyone agreed.  Mark voiced his concern about the need for the Young Ones to play danceable music.  Marley did not like the idea of the band having to share the limelight with but another singer.  Don scowled at Marley when he stated his perspective.  The Rockstar proposed to explore it with Sandie and to an indication of her interest.  Returning to performing Jody’s song, the Rockstar was fine with the band doing it but didn’t think it would be a good plan for her to sing it especially with knowing Sandie would be attending the dance.  He reasoned that it would be almost insulting to Sandie and he didn’t want to be part of upsetting someone consciously.  The band understood his perspective and honoured the fact that he and Sandie were still a couple.

The Rockstar had a voice coaching session and date with Sandie the Saturday following the band meeting.  After a couple of hours of singing, the young couple were getting tired of it and decided to start their date.  Before parting to go to a drive-in movie, the Rockstar reminded Sandie the Young Ones were playing at the Rosedale community hall in a few weeks and wondered if she would be interested in doing a few numbers with the band.  Sandie was honoured by the thought but said she really didn’t want to sing rock or pop songs.  She also added that she really was enjoying going to the dances and having fun with her friends.  To test her resolve in declining the invitation, the Rockstar asked if she would give it consideration if the offer only involved danceable folk songs.  She still thanked him and said no as she had moved on from performing at this time.  She did ask the Rockstar if the band could do a couple of numbers without him so he could come and dance with her like he did when they were in Grade 9.  The Rockstar agreed to figure out how to make that happen.

The Rockstar knew he had some foundational understandings to work out with Jody.  He needed her permission to sing her song and to make sure she understood why she couldn’t sing with the band at Rosedale.  The next time they got together he broached the issue.  They were working one evening at Jody’s place on some new songs she had written.  These songs were much less personal and were more upbeat and happier.  They had the potential of being great songs for the Young Ones as the pace made them good dancing tunes.  They were close to having them ready to introduce to the band so the Rockstar raised the issue of using some of her music at the upcoming dance at Rosedale.  Jody immediately jumped in and said that the Last Dance must not be performed at that gig.  She couldn’t perform it just yet as it was still too raw for her.  In addition it was a song that she would only ever perform with the Rockstar.  She felt with Sandie being at that dance it was best that it not be performed in her home community.  The Rockstar was relieved and greatly admired the wisdom and sensitivity of this young woman. 

The conversation then shifted to the new songs which she felt would be best performed by the Rockstar and the band.  She would not be able to muster the courage to perform her work quite this soon.  She really enjoyed performing the song at West Hillhurst but it was hard to put herself out there both as a songwriter and a singer.  Singing was not what she really aspired to do.  She gave permission for the Young Ones to debut either or both of the songs.  She also indicated she would be happy to come to another practice and work with the band to develop a version that would work best.  All Jody asked was that she receive acknowledgement as the writer of the song when attending the dance.

The Rockstar brought Jody to the last practice of the band prior to the Rosedale gig to work on her new songs.When Jody walked in the back door, she was warmly greeted by the Rockstar’s Mom.  Evidently they had made a good connection over tea the evening of the previous tense practice.  Lulu showed no warmth as she was Sandie’s best buddy.  Jody was warmly welcomed by the Young Ones in spite of the scolding given to them by the Rockstar at the previous practice.  Even Marley was lukewarm primarily as Jody was not performing and subsequently not going to erode his perceived personal glory.  There were no further hints Jody should be in the band.

Jody introduced her first song by accompanying the Rockstar who sang ‘Dare I Dream?’  The song had a chord sequence that was upbeat and danceable.  The lyrics told of the aspirations of a fledgling songwriter who sought notoriety for her/his work.  It was a sophisticated song where it seemed the lyrics were at odds with the pace.  This was quickly identified by the band when the Rockstar performed it.  Even Jody noticed the problem.  The band felt that the lyrics were compelling but the chord sequence and pace were at odds.  The Rockstar, who had trouble delivering the song, looked at Jody and recommended that maybe Mark, she and he do some further work on it and bring it back to the band in the future.  Jody realized the problem and happily consented to doing further work.

Jody’s second song was more of a slow dance tune.  Entitled ‘First Dance’, it was a story of a young teen boy who asked a shy girl to dance and describes the experience in realistic fashion to which any teen could relate.  The lyrics had smooth transitions between verses giving it a pleasant-to-listen-to feel.  The melodious chords further added to the song’s mellow sound.  The band really liked it and started to work on it immediately.  After several run throughs, the band had another original song to add to the Rosedale set list and also the Young One’s rapidly expanding repertoire.  Jody was very happy to have another one of her songs potentially reach the public.  The practice ended on a very positive note.

The Rosedale dance, which was viewed to be a safe place to perform, was anything but that for the Rockstar.  He knew that interacting with 2 girls who were involved in his music life and one in his personal life was likely to lead to some kind of a problem.  He had already experienced a tension with Sandie from Jody being at the last Rosedale dance.  He knew it had the potential of happening again at this dance.  He had no clue what to do so relied on his ability to play it out and respond as best he could to whatever happened.

The dance at Rosedale lived up to the expectations held for it.  The Young Ones were all glad to be “home” especially after the Hounsfield Heights experience.  The crowd was excited and having a great time.  The energy in the hall was very positive.  Sandie and her friends were having a fun.  Some of the band’s parents were supervising/chaperoning including Marley’s Dad and of course, Mr. Evers.  The first set went as planned except for Jody’s absence.  The Rockstar, true to his promise, had the band play a couple of instrumentals and danced with Sandie much to the joy of the home crowd.  Sandie enjoyed this special attention she received.  Her girlfriends were in awe of her dancing with the Rockstar.

Sure enough, right after the band’s break Jody arrived and found a seat where she could watch the band.  She displayed her new happiness and with it an emerging air of confidence.  The confidence resulted in enhancing her true beauty as a young woman.  Even Bobby was captivated by Jody and Sandie didn’t even get a second look in the second half of the dance.  The second set continued on till the point where Jody’s song was next to be played.  Taking a deep breath, the Rockstar announced the new song.  “Everyone, the Young Ones are pleased to play an original slow dance number penned by a Calgary songwriter who is with us tonight.  Please give a warm Rosedale welcome to Jody Martin sitting over to our right.  Give us a wave Jody.”  The crowd gave her a rousing welcome that brought a big smile to her radiant face.  When the genuine applause recognizing her significant accomplishment abated, the Rockstar continued.  “Jody has been working with the band and we are thrilled to debut this number that has never been heard by an audience.  Enjoy a tune that describes an experience we have all had – our ‘First Dance’.”  With that the Young Ones began to play.  At first many in the audience just stood to listen to the song that literally washed over them.  It was a mesmerizing song that captured the essence of a special event and transported them back to that special time.  The Rockstar’s lead singing and the tight harmonies of the other band member added much to the song.  Soon the dance floor was covered with many couples dancing with a softly reflective hush that allowed the message of the song to touch hearts.  In a way, it was almost a replication of Jody’s introductory performance at the Hillhurst dance.  The Rockstar looked at Jody and saw framed in her face the relief and pride of a major success.  He looked for Sandie and caught a brief glimpse of her pushing her way through the crowd to get to the exit stairs.  The anticipated problem had become a challenge he knew would cloud Sandie’s and his future.

After another great ending to a community dance the Rockstar left the gaggle of fans surrounding both the band and Jody to find Sandie.  In checking with the parents on the main floor of the hall, he was dismayed to hear one of them say he had seen Sandie leave wearing her coat quite some time ago.  The Rockstar sadly went back upstairs to join his bandmates and pack up his equipment.  Jody was waiting quietly by his guitar and amp.  “May I help you with your equipment?” she asked noticing his dark and sad face.

“Thanks Jody. It would be nice to have the help during at least one special moment in my life.”

“Sandie left didn’t she? I am so sorry I caused this problem for you tonight.  I should not have come here.”  The genuine sadness crept on to her face.

“No Jody.  You didn’t cause a problem for me.  Sandie is going to have to own this one.  She knew we were working together and the band may be playing your songs.  I guess she didn’t think it would ever happen.  I am so sorry you had to see this.  Let me at least drive you home.  I need to stop off at my house to give Sandie a quick call to see that she got home safely and drop off my equipment.”  Jody agreed.

The phone call to the Wood’s home was not well received.  Sandie would not speak to the Rockstar and her Dad thought it would be best to wait for a couple of days before trying to connect.  Mr. Woods said he felt badly that the relationship had fallen on hard times as this seemed to be a really difficult one for Sandie.  The Rockstar apologized for not seeing Sandie home safely.

Walking back into kitchen from the hallway location of the phone, the Rockstar saw his Mom consoling the sad Jody.  It was obvious that a relationship existed between the two that he had never realized.  Rather than getting involved and trying not to disrupt the sagely advice the Rockstar knew his mother would be offering, he asked Jody if she was ready to go home now as they both had a big night and needed some rest.  Jody said it was a good time and the two teens left.

Arriving at Jody’ place, the Rockstar was invited in for tea as he knew he would be.  He declined with great reluctance because he knew he had to think through and resolve things with Sandie before anything more could be done with Jody.  He congratulated her on the significant success of her song tonight and how proud he was to be working with such a talented lady.  He promised he would be in touch with her as soon as he had resolved his problem with Sandie.  He walked her to her door, said his goodnight and thanked her for her understanding of his current challenges.

The teapot was on the kitchen table along with two mugs.  Lulu had gone to bed and Mom wanted to talk to her son.  Mom started off with saying how sorry she was that things were troublesome for her son, the Rockstar.  She told him he was having to deal with some pretty big adult issues at such a young age.  Mom wanted him to know she had great faith in his wisdom and the way he could handle issues.  Mom also wanted him to know that even though she knew Sandie better and quite liked her, Jody was a quality person also.  She knew he was right in the middle of two women who were vying for his attentions and that by understanding what each one of them really wanted, he would know what he could or had to do.  The Rockstar knew his Mom was right and it became clear what he needed to do to resolve things with Sandie.

The Rockstar found Sandie on Monday alone by her school locker.  He asked how she was and if they could talk sometime this week.  Sandie agreed that she would be free the night of their regularly scheduled practice.  He could come to her house at 7:00 pm and they would talk.  She offered no clues as to how she was but the sensed emotional distance between them was very large.

The Rockstar arrived at the Wood’s home Wednesday on the dot of 7:00 pm on.  It took a long time for Sandie to answer the door.  The Rockstar knew that he was in for a difficult evening.  Sandie invited him in with no warmth in the welcome.  Her parents shared a cursory greeting from the kitchen.  It was obvious that they had heard their daughter’s story and it had caused them great pain.  Silently Sandie led the Rockstar to her bedroom, invited him to sit in the chair while she faced him from the bed.  The door was purposefully left open.

The Rockstar, wanting to get this obvious discomfort over, started by asking Sandie what was troubling her.  Seeing the anger starting to boil up inside her, the Rockstar waited for the onslaught he felt he was about to receive.  Quite unexpectedly, Sandie responded with, “Nothing!”  Knowing this not to be true, the Rockstar switched questions by asking why she was so mad at him.  Again he waited for the flood of emotion.  Sandie responded with, “Why would you think I am mad?”  Sensing the trap, the Rockstar, using his calmest, smoothest voice indicated the fact that he saw her leaving the dance unexpectedly.  He figured out later she walked home without allowing him to drive her.  This indicated that something had upset her.  Suddenly her angry face softened and a rush of tears burst from her eyes.  After sobbing for a few moments, Sandie blurted out softly, “You don’t love me anymore!”  Using his soft and persistent questioning voice asked Sandie to help him understand why she would think that he no longer loved her.  Instantly, she responded, “You love the songwriter now.  You spoke so glowingly of her publicly at the dance and all I get is 2 dances with you.  She can do more for you now as a songwriter than I ever could as a singer.Everyone can see that she is in love with you.  She is more beautiful than I am.  She must be smarter as she can write songs.  I’ll bet she can sing better than me.”  The Rockstar could see the distress she was in and had likely been so since the dance.  He wished his Mom was here to help him at this moment.  Suddenly her previous advice about determining wants jumped into his mind.

Out of the blue, the Rockstar posed, “Sandie, what do you want from me?”

Sensing she had gained some power, Sandie demanded, “You must remove the songwriter from your life.  You must never sing any of her song’s again nor should the band play them.  You must never see her again.”

“You see Jody as a real threat don’t you Sandie?  She is not a threat to you.  She is not as strikingly beautiful as you.  She does not sing as well as you.  She does not even want to be a singer.  Jody is a songwriter and that is her passion.”  Her face softened a bit more so the Rockstar pressed on.  “Why are you so jealous of Jody?”

“Because you spend time with her and it is time you could be spending with me.  I want you all to myself.  I do not want to share you with anyone.  I love you.  I want to give myself to you.  I just want to go back to the way things were before you became consumed with the band and particularly your best friend Mark Horton.  I hate him as much as Jody.”

The Rockstar now knew Sandie was jealous and despite her gregariousness, was very insecure.  He knew he was in way over his head now but needed to do something.  He asked Sandie if there was anything he could do right now that would make her feel any better.  Sandie responded with, “Yes, you could take me as your date to our graduation dance.  Will you be my date?”

The Rockstar answered, “Yes, I will be your date.  I also want you to know the Young Ones have been hired to play the grad dance.  The band wants you to sing with us at the dance.  We all, including Mark, want you to celebrate the end of high school with the recognition you so rightly deserve.  Will you sing with us one last time?”

Sandie did not answer but rather leapt to her feet, ran over and planted one very soggy kiss on the Rockstar’s lips.  As she hugged him, she whispered in his ear, “I knew our story was not yet over!”

The Rockstar said he must get home as he had a school assignment to finish for tomorrow.  He also told Sandie, they had to talk more about her jealousy as it could not continue to impact their relationship as it had done over that past few days and bring an end to their story.  With that, they walked to her front door and the Rockstar disappeared into the darkness of his troubled mind.

The Rockstar arranged a time to talk with Jody.  She deserved to know the result of the Rosedale dance debacle.  He arrived at her house with her waiting at the door for him.  They sat on the couch and began to talk.  Jody began the conversation wanting to know how the Rockstar was doing.  He responded that he was doing okay but could use a little peace from the challenges in his life as of late.  He told her that the situation had been resolved with Sandie but it was no longer the same as it was between them in the past.  He told her about the grad dance arrangement and hoped it would work out.  Jody, being a good listener, let the Rockstar get Sandie off his chest before she had her concerns addressed.  Finally, the Rockstar opened the real reason for his visit.  He started off by apologizing to Jody that she was being drawn into a situation that was not of her making or her responsibility.  He told that he was grateful for what she added to the band and to him personally.  He thanked her for what he had learned about songwriting and really wanted to continue to work on music with her.  He then asked her how she was doing thereby creating the opening Jody was seeking.

Jody started off by giving the Rockstar a big hug.  In doing so, it told the Rockstar that she was okay with him but the situation was challenging for her.  She told the Rockstar she understood that his relationship with Sandie was beginning to impact her but she understood that it inevitably would be resolved in some fashion in the future.  Jody understood the problem was Sandie’s and proposed a solution that would minimize the tension.  She informed the Rockstar she would no longer come to any of the Young One’s practices or gigs as long as Sandie was in the picture.  She regretted having to do so but her participation directly with the band was just too inflammatory.  She then turned to her desire to continue working with the Rockstar.  She proposed that they continue as she felt she was learning much from the experience as well.  She could not see any reason for them to not continue to write songs together and she was more than willing to have songs that she’d produced debuted by the Young Ones.  Signs of the release of tension were becoming evident.

Jody then addressed the one issue she had remaining.  She looked into the Rockstar’s eyes and told him she was developing strong feelings for him personally.  She saw in him the characteristics of a guy she wanted to be with.  She then quickly added she understood he was with Sandie and respected that reality.  Jody promised she would never do anything to interfere with he and Sandie’s relationship.  With that she stood up and offered to go and make them both a cup of tea.

Preparations for graduation and the grad dance drove the energies of the Young Ones in the following days.  With the Rockstar, Mark, Don and Sandie graduating from Grade 12, their energies had school as their total focus.  As the grad dance was the biggest dance the Young Ones would perform in their young music careers, preparation for their performance was paramount.  Sandie came regularly to band practices again which thrilled Bobby.  The acquisition and practice of songs dominated most twice a week practices.  These heavy responsibilities left little time for much else in the lives of the band members.

The final key practice that started off this frenetic rush to the immediate future finally got started with Marley arriving 15 minutes late.  He indicated he couldn’t get a cab which lacked a modicum of credibility.  Developing the set list was the key focus.  Don framed out the school’s vision for the grad dance.  It included music to which 17 to 18-year-olds would like to both listen and dance.  The school administration envisioned the program to be mostly music and little talk as the young people would have had enough speeches at the grad dinner and formal ceremonies prior to the dance.  The goal was to keep attendees engaged and not out in the parking lot drinking in cars.  Slow dances were okay but not overly prevalent so as not to awaken hormonal blizzards that could create situations later.  Parents were not invited to this part of the graduation and the dance would be supervised by the administration and teaching staff.  Don ended his information sharing that the dance was expected to draw up 800 people and the band would be paid $150.00.  Marley immediately asked how much each band member would make.  Don told him he would make the usual $20.00.  Marley immediately asked where the rest of the money was going. 

At this point the Rockstar intervened.  “Marley, this is not an appropriate time for the band to be discussing money.  Let me be clear and add to your understanding.  Don manages the band funds with my input.  There will a complete financial accounting and discussion at the band management meeting early in July.  At that meeting, everyone will know about revenue and expenditures for the past 10 months.  You will hear about how Don was remunerated and that Sandie will be paid as a band member for the grad dance.  Until that meeting, your financial queries or concerns will not be addressed.  Is that clear?”  Marley offered a subdued yes but his face displayed residual anger that everyone knew would be troublesome in the future.

Returning to the needed starting point in preparation, the Rockstar asked for selections to be on the set list.  Mark as per usual announced he had been working on ‘Pipeline’ by the Chantays, ‘Misirlou’ by Dick Dale and His Del-Tones and ‘Apache’ by the Shadows.  After playing them on the record player, the Young Ones thought they would be great new tunes for the set list.  Bobby suggested ‘Get Ready’ by the Temptations as the lyrics were appropriate for a grad dance.  He played the record and all agreed.  Marley suggested nothing as he was ensconced in a pouty snit.  The Rockstar asked Sandie what she was thinking about singing.  She responded with ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ to which all but Marley enthusiastically agreed.  She then offered ‘California Dreaming’ and would like to sing the harmonies with the band.  Sandie also said she would like to perform a song that was special to her – ‘I’m Not Saying’ by Gordon Lightfoot.  She then played the 45 rpm.  As it played, tears welled up in her eyes.  No one in the band could quarrel with its selection.  Sandie thought Peter and Gordon’s, ‘World Without Love’ was an appropriate song and could serve as a slow dance.  The last song she proposed was the ‘Sound of Silence’ which she would like to do a duet with The Rockstar.  “Could we sing it for them now?” she asked the Rockstar.  With a smile, the Rockstar picked up his acoustic guitar.  After they finished, there was total silence from the band.  Only Lulu’s applause from the basement steps broke the silence.  The silence was taken as an affirmation of that song choice for the set list.  All were fine with filling the set list with appropriate songs from their repertoire.

The Rockstar walked Sandie home after the practice.  They talked briefly about the set list with Sandie indicating her pleasure with the songs that were endorsed by everyone.  Bravely, the Rockstar asked her if there was anything he should know about her suggestion of the song ‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling’. Sandie smiled coyly and left it at that.  The Rockstar again felt the spectre of impending doom.

The Rockstar experienced a compelling need to talk to Jody as a result of happened recently.  He knew he was juggling several balls and that one unplanned circumstance could result in a disaster.  After calling her and meeting her for a tea at the little bistro near her home, Jody and the Rockstar talked.  The Rockstar was really glad to see Jody as he felt she possessed a depth of maturity and understanding that did not create an edge in their relationship.  He felt a sense of trust that had a calmness he really needed in his life currently.  After the steaming cups of tea arrived, the Rockstar blurted out the story of the preparations for the upcoming grad dance.It was a catharsis which he hoped he handled with at least some class as this was not his usual way.  Jody listened patiently and then summed up by posing a few questions.  “Things are not going well with Sandie, are they?” she queried.

“No, they are not!” he replied.  “Something has changed and I feel that I am being set up in some fashion.  I don’t understand!  I just want Sandie to have a special moment of recognition of her vast talents as a singer at her graduation dance.  I have no other agenda.  I want the Young Ones to do well and as a result, help them to see the potential for their future.”

“Is our working together the cause of the problem with Sandie?”

“I think so, but I don’t understand why.  You and I are friends who share a passion for music.  You are someone from whom I have learned much.  Our relationship is reciprocal.  I have special feelings for you.  I thought our situation was a similar to the one with Sandie.  I don’t think it is anymore.  I am troubled by this.”

“What do you want from me?” asked Jody.

“I want us to do something special for the graduation dance.  I want us to write a song that will touch the hearts and souls of the grads at the dance.  I want them to end their high school career with a memory that will move them forward towards their future with hope, optimism and confidence.  I want them to remember their graduation with a positive and powerful experiential memory that will always serve them well.” the Rockstar replied.

“And you want us to do this without upsetting Sandie, Right?” queried Jody.

“Guess that is too much to hope for. Right?”

“You are so young and naive but such an old soul.  It is what I love about you!  We will write this important song but you just can’t count on what will happen with Sandie.  It is your graduation also and you may not end up with both.  Do we co-write this song or do you want to make this all about Sandie?”

The Rockstar thought for several moments and then replied, “We write the song!”

The Young Ones and Sandie practiced hard for the grad dance.  They fine-tuned all the songs on the set list.  Special attention was given to the new songs on the list as they required new learning and mastery to achieve the desired tightness of presentation. 

The second last practice ended with a brief meeting to make some decisions.  The band decided that out of respect for her history, Sandie would introduce the songs she would be performing.  She had done such a good job in the past, she should have the honour of doing so.  The Rockstar was a tad uneasy with this decision but respected its rationale.  The Rockstar would continue his regular role as the frontman for the majority of the numbers.  As Don, Sandie and the Rockstar would be wearing their graduation apparel, Mark, Bobby and Marley agreed to wear dress shirts, ties and dress pants out of respect for the more formal nature of the event.  In order for the graduates to be involved with all the graduating events, Mr. Evers and Donahue would assist their sons in setting up the equipment.  Everyone was on the same page.  Before leaving, the Rockstar asked the band to have one more brief practice before the grad dance.  He announced that he and Mark had been working on a new song especially for the grad dance and it should be easily mastered at the final practice.  The Rockstar indicated that the song was a special surprise and Sandie and Don need not come to the practice.  Both looked puzzled but took it as it was intended, to be a surprise for them also.  Everyone left the practice replete with anticipation of a wonderful gig.

The busy life of graduating students who were caught up in studying and the excitement of graduation exercises had its impact on dating with the Rockstar and Sandie.  They saw each other at band practices and the now infrequent singing lessons but not much beyond those encounters.  Surprisingly, it did not seem as imperative as it once had.  The Rockstar wondered about that but took it as a blessing to enable his life to be just a tad less frenetic.

The evening of the final practice of the Young Ones in the basement studio started right on schedule.  The Rockstar explained what he wanted to accomplish with the final song.  He wanted to do a song that would create a powerful experience for graduates who would be thinking about the next stage of their life and future.  He wanted them to dare to dream.  The Rockstar told the bandmembers he, Mark and Jody had reframed the lyrics to Jody’s ‘Dare I Dream?’.  Mark had created a new chord sequence to which the lyric fit.  The song was now envisioned to be a slow dance to end the graduation.  With that introduction, the Rockstar gave the band copies of the lyric.  He and Mark then played the song and sang it in harmony.  Bobby and Marley just sat and listened deeply engaged by what they were hearing.  After the Extro, both young guys expressed their positive impressions and how the song made them feel.  The Rockstar smiled at Mark and stated the obvious, “This is going to work so now let’s finish building this song!”

The graduation events of the Grade 12 classes on June 9, 1967 were as exciting and frenetic as they were anticipated to be for such a momentous event.  It all started with the closing ceremony in the high school gymnasium.  The Rockstar’s Mom and grandparents were seated in a section surprisingly just behind seating reserved for the graduates.  They had a great view of the stage and would surely be able to see all of the proceedings.  The ceremony began once the stage party was seated.  The 5 graduating classes entered from both sides of the stage area to the music provided by the school band.  All were festooned in caps and gowns and showed a true excitement while being seated with their classmates in the section immediately in front of the stage.  The girls radiated a more mature brilliance while the boys beamed with an emergent confidence most parents had not seen consistently.  The principal gave a warm welcome and extended a genuine set of accolades to the grads, showing that he had a genuine connection with each and every one of the 150 students.  He established a tone that set the stage for the events that followed the balance of Grad day. 

The next presenter was a well-known successful former graduate of the high school who offered an inspiring look to the future after graduation.  Next up was the student valedictorian who delivered an address that was both characteristic of her intelligence, academic accomplishment and the significant social skills she had demonstrated in her 3 years of high school.  Then the moment came for the presentation of high school diplomas, symbolic of the years of schooling and effort it took to graduate.  The Rockstar practically bounded up the stairs to the stage from where he was lined up with his classmates.  The principal grabbed his hand and stated he could hardly wait to hear his band later that evening and that he was proud of his academic efforts during his final year.  The Rockstar was taken aback that the principal knew any of this and his firm handshake created a further feeling of genuineness.

After the ceremony, students and their parents met for congratulatory hugs on the gymnasium floor.  The Rockstar’s Mom was in tears with the profound pride she had in her son.  His grandparents both gave him big hugs and spoke of their pride in him graduating but also in taking such good care of his mother.  They then excused themselves in order for the Rockstar and his Mom to meet the families of his friends from the community. 

The time for greetings and photographs came to an end. The principal requested the graduates to go to Room 12 and turn in their caps and gowns and then return to the gymnasium to pick up their parents and take them to the graduation banquet in the school cafeteria.  The Rockstar connected with Sandie in Room 12 while they were both turning in their caps and gowns.  The Rockstar helped Sandie take off her grad gown only to reveal her wearing the most striking graduation dress he had ever seen.  It was a skin tight fluorescent blue gown with a plunging V-neckline.  Her long blonde hair cascaded down both the front and back of the dress.  It accentuated her slender but full body.  The spilt up the side exposed one of her long, shapely legs.  The Rockstar was speechless.  Noticing this, Sandie grabbed him, pulled him close and whispered in his ear that she was wearing nothing under the dress either.  She then linked her arm in his as they walked out to find their parents.

Fortunately, the Rockstar and his Mom, the Woods family and the Gardner family were able to book a table and all sit together.  The table talk was fun as the parent’s shared stories of their kids growing up to this point in their young lives.  The Rockstar had a passing thought about his father and wondered if he even knew he was graduating.  There had been very little child support and no contacts since had left, when the Rockstar was very young.  The graduates shared their thoughts about their future which gave a nice balance to the humourous growing up stories offered by all the parents.  There were few specifics shared but most included goals of university or other forms of postsecondary education.  Don gave a startling reminder that graduating with a high school diploma was one thing but achieving the entrance requirements of most postsecondary institutions was considerably different.  His father nodded in agreement.  As the surprisingly good dinner in the high school cafeteria drew to an end, the Rockstar and his musical colleague’s became a little anxious to return to the gymnasium and be part of the set-up for the grad dance.

The entourage of graduates entered the high school gymnasium to find Mark and the Evers/Donahue crew setting up the Young One’s equipment masterfully.  After a warm greeting the whole band went to work with the AV Club of the high school to position microphones, drums, amps and guitar stands optimally.  Then came soundchecks to ensure a good sound and correct volume could be obtained.  It was noted that the Silvertone amps were pushed to their capacity by the immense size of a gymnasium that housed 3 basketball courts side-by-side, full length extendable bleachers and permanent balcony seating on both sides.  Sadly, there weren’t enough microphone ports in the PA system to mic the Silvertone amps.  Marley smirked during the soundchecks as his Fender amp had more than adequate power for this size of room.  This did not get by Don and neither did the garish polyester suit with matching shirt and tie he was wearing.  His outfit was incongruous with the stylish simple suits and sport jackets worn by the rest of Young Ones.

Upon completion of soundchecks, a quick review of the set list resulted in the repositioning of the musicians introduction/solo number to end the first set.  Sandie raised a question about the final song as it was new to her.  Mark jumped in by stating that it was a song he and the Rockstar had crafted especially for the dance.  Her look of suspicion abated quickly however.  The band took one last break and began to greet the early arrivals from the grad banquet.  It was just a few short minutes before the 7:30 pm start time.  The Rockstar had a quick but warm conversation with Sandie to see how each other was doing.  The Rockstar could see that her grad was going well.  Her aura almost glowed in harsh gymnasium lighting even as it was being dimmed to a suitable level.  She thanked the Rockstar for involving her and she would demonstrate it more personally after the grad party.  With that, she gave him one last gentle kiss and dashed off to talk to her girlfriends.

Exactly at 7:30 pm, the principal welcomed the grads and their dates to the dance.  He congratulated the host of students who played the many roles in engineering a grad event.  He used that as a transition to introducing the Rockstar by name and his band the Young Ones.  He noted 4 members of the band were graduating this year and asked that they be given a warm CHHS welcome.  With that, the Young Ones broke into their signature theme song.  Mark’s reverb-drenched Intro rang throughout the gym.  On cue the Rockstar started the lyric.  In order to keep the dance momentum going, the Rockstar counted in ‘Pipeline’.  Again Mark’s guitar talent shone through with superb backing from the band.  Sandie had positioned herself between the Rockstar and Mark but a step behind them so as not to draw attention from them during the theme vocal and the now guitar instrumental.  She clapped a half beat and moved suggestively with it.  The dancers moved with the quick pace of this popular instrumental. As Mark’s Extro final reverbed chord faded, the Rockstar approached the mic.  “Welcome fellow grads and dates!  We, the Young Ones, are thrilled to play for you tonight.  I would like to introduce you to a very special grad – Sandie Woods.  Sandie was one of the founding members of the band and we are thrilled she is with us tonight to dazzle you with her incredible vocals.  Please welcome Sandie who will introduce her first song!”  Sandie stepped forward to her mic in the midst of deafening applause and gave a very brief intro to ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and counted in Mark’s Intro chords.  Sandie’s cover, due to her deep contralto voice, was radically different from the Animals original version.  As many people had not yet heard Sandie sing this song, they were unsure of whether to dance or to just stand there and listen.  Both reactions happened!  People were mesmerized by her rendition and when it ended, the applause was deafening.  Sandie stood there in awe of the reaction of over 700 appreciative fans.  Even the band joined in the applause with the exception of Marley who just stood there looking disgusted.

As the applause diminished, Sandie waved in appreciation and stepped back.  The Rockstar stepped forward and after a simple “Wow” into his mic, turned his head and counted in ‘Get Ready’, a cover of a recent Temptations’ hit.  The band started its Intro.  On cue The Rockstar began to sing.  The band jumped in with lyrics and echo harmony on the chorus.  The energy of the band immediately infused the dancers and the floor became alive.  The Rockstar glanced over at Sandie as some of the lyrics are aggressively suggestive.  Again, he caught her coy smile.

The set list indicated it was guitar time again.  The Rockstar introduced a song by the Cliff Richards backing band – The Shadows.  After the count in, Bobby started the Intro drum beat.  Then Mark put on a guitar clinic playing one great lick after another.  An appreciative audience demonstrated their understanding with another tumultuous applause.  Mark beamed in appreciation.

“Would you like to hear again from gorgeous Miss Sandie?”  The crowd went wild.  The Rockstar counted in ‘California Dreamin’.  The Rockstar played the Intro on his acoustic, amplified by his mic.  This cover was noticeably different from the Mamas and Papas version.  Sandie’s melodiously rich voice gave power to the 3-verse lyric.  The beat was infectious for a folk-rock tune and dancing was now the norm.  Sandie belted out the song which caused it to reverberate through the gymnasium.  Another magical moment was created by this wonderful young talent.  The Rockstar noted mentally that it was really too bad Sandie could not move beyond her folk roots.

“This is one of the first songs I ever learned to sing and is now one of my favourites.  I hope you enjoy having a little fun with ‘Mustang Sally’.”  The Young Ones played the Intro and right on cue with his best gravelly voice and screams came the Rockstar.  Sandie and the band sang the chorus in a raucous harmony.  Giggles from the floor indicated that they were indeed having fun.

“You have probably noted that Sandie loves folk music.  Her passion for this genre is truly reflected in the way she performs.  Sandie, please introduce another one of your favourites.”

“I really like this song and will give the Lennon and McCartney tune a folk treatment.  Please feel free to join in with us as we sing ‘A World Without Love’.”  The swell of voices grew after the first chorus.  Sandie smiled and pointed at the crowd for the remaining choruses.  The final Extro chorus was deafening.

The Rockstar stepped up to his mic and indicated it was time to introduce the members of the Young Ones.  “Sandie and I have been introduced so now it time to meet this collection of fine musicians.  They are going to show you how good they are by doing some solo work during the course of our version of ‘Tequila’.  Tequila was a big hit for the California band named after a horse.  Yes, my friends, they were named after the former cowboy star’s horse Champion.  As it turned out the band had the song but no band name when they recorded Tequila at Autry’s recording studio.  Now you get to meet 4 new champs.”  The Rockstar began the Intro on his acoustic amplified by his mic.  The Young Ones all joined the first verse run in the sequence of Marley, Bobby and Mark.  They played the song to the first shout of “tequila” at which point the Rockstar introduced, “On bass guitar – Marley Donahue!”  Marley played his bass solo while Bobby kept the beat on his kick.  Marley really got into his performance by cranking up his volume and going on far too long.  The Rockstar signaled to the band to join in the instrumental verse to the next shout of “tequila” and then introduced, “On drums – Bobby Evers!”  Bobby delivered a stellar drum solo using the full potential of his vast drum kit and skill set.  Bobby signaled when the band had to come in with the verse to the next shout of “tequila”.  The Rockstar introduced, “On lead guitar, Mark Horton!”  Mark gave another brief clinic on guitar riffs eking out the full potential of his Silvertone equipment.  Mark cued the band to play the final Extro fade leading to the last shout of “tequila”.  Again an unbridled round of applause erupted from the dance floor where very few were dancing but all were listening.  Waiting until the noise abated the Rockstar reminded the audience there were 4 new champs.  “It is my pleasure to introduce the 4th key member of the band.  You may have noted him on stage with us clapping the beats with Sandie.  He doesn’t play an instrument but works as hard as any of us for each and every performance.  Please show your appreciation to my friend and fellow graduate, Don Gardner who manages the Young Ones!”  The audience roared their appreciation.  When the clamor died, the Rockstar announced a 15-minute break.

During the break the stage was swarmed with appreciative graduates.  The band spent most of its time talking with friends and members of the school staff.  Even the principal came over and shook the hand of each member of the band.The Rockstar and Sandie had only a few seconds to connect.  Sandie gave the Rockstar a big hug and whispered a genuine thank you in his ear.  It was obvious that she was thrilled with what was happening for her.  The Rockstar echoed her feelings.  He took a moment to hug each member of the band and thank them for their stellar work at this pivotal event in the lives with so many people.  The importance of this performance was not lost on anybody except for Marley.

There was no appreciable loss of momentum with the audience upon the resumption of the dance.  Beginning with a fast-paced guitar instrumental by one of the original legends of guitar bands and rock and roll, Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, the dance floor filled in a flurry.  As the song ended, Sandie stepped up to her microphone to introduce her next number.

Again using her amazing stage presence, she garnered almost the immediate silence she was seeking for her introduction.  “Listeners do not always hear the messages in important songs.  Paul Simon sends we, graduates a powerful message in his song ‘The Sound of Silence’.  It is a message that we should take with us as we leave high school and go on to the next stage of our lives.  Please think about what you will do to not succumb to the sound of silence.”  With that she looked at the Rockstar who had his acoustic guitar positioned in front of his lowered mic.  He began to play the Intro.  Sandie began to sing.  Bobby and the Young Ones played a very soft and gentle backing.  The audience became captivated with the sound of her voice and the power of the lyric.  No one danced.  Everyone in the audience stood, listened and understood.  It was a moment performers experience very few times in their concerts.  The Rockstar was glad that Sandie had at least one of those experiences during a significant life event.  He also hoped his band members gained from their contributory participation in this enchanting moment.  It was obvious the audience was indeed impacted.  The song’s ended with no applause but rather manifold hugs and reflective moments.  Sandie left the stage with tears streaming down her face as a result of the profound impact of her song on the audience.

The Rockstar waited until the right moment and counted in ‘Stand by Me’.  It turned out to be perfect timing as a follow-up to Sandie’s performance.  Very slowly the hugs transitioned into dancing with partners almost clinging to each other.  The Rockstar gave a performance that even Ben E. King would have been proud.

The balance of the set list was executed flawlessly.  It was well-received by the audience as demonstrated by the volume of dancers and differing expressions of pleasure at the end of each number.  The stage was set for the Sandie’s swansong and the original number crafted by Mark, Jody and the Rockstar.

Sandie had been on stage and taken part in several numbers.  It was just about 10:30 pm, the scheduled time for the dance to end and the various grad parties to commence.  No one had left the building as yet but there was anticipation in the air.  The Rockstar smiled and nodded to Sandie who approached her microphone.  “I have not performed this song in a fairly long time.  It is a special song and I’d like to dedicate it to a very special relationship that I will always treasure.  I would like to share it with you for the last time tonight.”  The Rockstar started his chorded Intro and the band joined in gently supporting the vocalist.  Sandie’s magnificent voice began the first lyric.  Her eyes were glued on the Rockstar.  He reciprocated the eye contact and listened to the lyrics for the first time since he and Sandie began working on the song over a year ago.  It suddenly dawned on him that Sandie was describing the state of their personal relationship to him in an enigmatic but ever so civilized fashion.  He knew in his heart it was time to move on in his musical world and that knowledge made the upcoming song just a little bit easier.  The song ended to a round of applause that was likely not what she wanted but Sandie acknowledged it gracefully, secure in her mind that she did what she knew she had to do publicly.  She then stepped back while the Rockstar and the Young Ones did the closing number.

Re-adjusting his mic, the Rockstar introduced the Young One’s final song.  “We would like to end the grad dance with a message to all graduates.  It is an original song that speaks to vision, purpose and intention.  We view these as key to all of us as we prepare for the next major stage of our future whatever it might be.  This song was written by my friend Mark Horton, Jody Martin, a friend of the Young Ones and myself.  We, fledgling songwriters, dedicate it to you.”  With that, Mark and the band began the Intro.  On cue, the Rockstar sang ‘Dare I Dream’ with a fervor and depth of soul he had never been able to muster before.  Some started to dance but eventually stopped to watch the performance.  The Rockstar sensed this unfold and it became forever cemented in his psyche - the power of a performance.  He could see the faces of members of the audience and felt their engagement with the song and how it was presented.  He knew at that moment, music was his destiny.  He finished to an astounding surge of applause, cheers and whistles.  The audience even pressed forward to the front edge of the stage and reached out to the band. 

The principal suddenly appeared and took command of the Rockstar’s microphone.  He applauded along with the audience then raised his hands to calm them down.  He turned to the Young Ones with an outstretched arm of credit which brought out another deafening round of applause.  After several more seconds of applause he got the audience under control.  He looked at the band and all that came out was a genuine “Wow!”  More applause erupted.  The principal thanked the Young Ones for their magnificent contribution to the school’s 1967 graduating proceedings making them the best he had seen in his 30 years as an educator.  He wished everyone well and asked them to savour this event in their life.  The Rockstar and his band stood there for a few moments in total shock.  Soon reality struck.

Sandie rushed over from her position standing with the band and grabbed the Rockstar’s arm roughly.  She spun him sideways so she could look him in his eyes.  “I hate you!  You deceived me.  I thought I told you that you could have nothing to do with Jody and you did.  No, it was probably Mark.  He put you up to this songwriting.  I hate him and I will get even with him.  He ruined my graduation.  I will not be going to the graduation party with you and I can assure you someone else will be enjoying something you will never experience – me!”  With that, Sandie left the stage, found a guy standing off to the side of the crowd and left with him.  The Rockstar was stunned.  Don came over and said he saw what happened but the Rockstar needed to be connecting with the host of keen fans pressing the front of the stage.  He did so but even the affirming fans could not end the pain he felt in his heart.


Submitted: March 11, 2021

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