the twenty-second

Faithful Fan

 

I searched for him in sunsets and star-lit skies.  I looked for him in the way the sun catches the green leaves of trees in summer in Ohio.  Sparkles of light, like a thousand sequins, rippled along in the breeze.  I’m a Capricorn.  He’s a Virgo, but our shores would never meet.

I first saw him on MTV.  I couldn’t have been more than 13 or 14-years old, but I was certain that he couldn’t have been much older than I was.  Maybe 16?  That wasn’t much of an age difference.  He was possibly within reach.  Anything was possible when the sun shined, and my parents saved all year for our beach vacation.  I dreamed of a luxurious tan and perfect hair.  When I think of it now, what I really wanted was the California ideal, but Florida was closer.  So were the TV and the radio.  In Ohio, they rarely played his songs—only one or two—but I’d stand by with my cassette tape recorder and capture that sound—that far-away call in the dead of Ohio winters—of summer.

We didn’t have MTV at home, so I’d have to wait for vacation-hotel-cable to see him. His wavy, spikey, rock-punk hair, his strong jawline, dreamy eyes, leather jacket, and tight pants were imprinted on my memory.  I desperately needed to meet him.

So, I subscribed to all the teenage magazines, hoping to catch a glimpse of his face—maybe find news of a fan club or concerts.  I found an address where I could write to him, in care of his manager.  It was a timid start to a desperation that grew:

Dear Martin:

How are you?  I’m fine.  Hope you’re having fun in Norway.  I love to travel and would love to see Norway someday.  In any case, your music and videos are totally awesome.  I’m hoping you’ll write to me soon.

Your fan,

Melinda.

I checked the mailbox every day.  Two months later, I received a reply:

Dear Fan:

Thank you for your letter.  Martin’s fans mean the world to him.  Due to the great number of letters Martin receives on a daily basis, it is impossible to answer them all.  Please know that he will personally read your letter when his schedule permits.  In the meantime, I am including an autographed poster of Martin in this envelope and a list of his world tour concerts.  Martin and I hope you can make it to a concert someday.

The form letter was disappointing, but I thought that if he saw a picture of me, he’d fall in love with me, and he’d have to write back.  So, I sent another letter to him and included a picture.  I waited.  I didn’t get a response.  However, I did have the list of concerts, and there happened to be one in Toledo, Ohio in February.  I knew my parents would never let me go.

In an act of teenage rebellion, I found a daring 4-H friend who took me and a few other friends into Toledo in her family’s van.  As far as my parents were concerned, I was having a wholesome slumber party filled with late-night TV and pink and red nail polish.  They trusted me so much that they didn’t even call to check up on me.  My good friend helped me with my hair and makeup.  I also wore a most revealing outfit because I had to catch Martin’s attention.  He just had to look at me.

Of course, our seats were way in the back.  I was jealous of all the other girls up front. They were close enough to touch him.  Though the music was loud, I was able to tell my friends that all I wanted was to see Martin.  My good, good friends, who knew exactly how to breed and show cows, properly mix cake batter, and grow prize-winning corn, also knew how to jump start a car, steal from the liquor cabinet, and get me backstage to meet Martin. 

When I saw him coming down the hallway, I knew I had no time to waste.  I ran towards him and shouted, “Martin!  I really need to talk to you!  I KNOW we need to be together—forever!  Please don’t look away!”

And, he didn’t look away.  Instead, he looked disgusted.  With a cruel sneer, Martin called his manager over to say, loud enough for me to hear, “Honestly, I don’t know where they all come from.  Idiots!  Don’t they know I’m taken?  I’m MARRIED!”

I was humiliated, but I was encouraged to discover that this gorgeous rock star was faithful to his partner, and that being faithful mattered.  And, I guess then, that’s when I realized what I really wanted: to find love and a faithful partner. So, I did—I married someone absolutely wonderful—and sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can smell the saltwater of the Florida Gulf from my teenage years, when I’d listened to Martin’s songs.  When the summer heats up and the glowing, green leaves burst to life, I remember the freshness of my youth.  I’d stretched and awakened to guitar strings and drum beats that energized my generation.  They are now echoes on YouTube and Wikipedia, but I hear them, still.  I’ve remained faithful.  If Martin could see me now, he might be tempted to leave his wife—the tenth in a span of 35 years.

 

Cecilia Kennedy taught English and Spanish courses in Ohio for over 20 years. Currently, she lives in the Greater Seattle area with her family. Since 2017, she has been writing and publishing short stories (mostly in the horror genre) in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies online and in print. The Places We Haunt (Potter’s Grove Publishing) is her first short story collection, which was released June 30th, and she is the adult beverages columnist for The Daily Drunk. She also keeps a blog of her humorous attempts at cooking and home repairs: Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks: https://fixinleaksnleeksdiy.blog/

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