She still couldn’t shake the previous night’s dream. It’d been over 20 years since she’d seen George. It was the song…Richard Marx was singing on a CD. That must have been what brought him to mind.
She’d received a stinging comment from a “friend” and had fought tears as he reached over and squeezed her hand. He said nothing and everything with that gesture. An uncomfortable silence hung in the air as George went to find something to put on the jukebox to ease the moment. One of the background songs was “Hold On To the Night” – a song that forever put her in that booth in the pizza joint. He was a friend – her rock in a hard time.
Of course she didn’t know that before long it would change. The friendship was easy. Some would say soul mates. There was nine years age difference but as friends it melted away. There was an odd, unexplained but very close understanding. The dream played it as a movie.
There was the call that came he’d been in a car accident. He’d spent the night in the hospital getting a cast on his broken arm and went to his sister’s apartment. They’d had a rocky time but he needed a place to rest. Instead she started screaming at him then when neighbors noticed charged domestic violence. Instead of refuge he was arrested for something he hadn’t done. Even in a dream the anger welled up. It wasn’t fair.
He got out of jail and she went to pick him up. She didn’t have much but couldn’t bear him being without a place to go. She looked at the key in his hand and the look on his face. His eyes were misty at the gift. It wasn’t just a key – it was trust. It was the kind of trust that said “you’re welcome at my place any time. Let yourself in if I’m gone.”
There were no words that would bridge the gap so he simply clenched the key in his hand and moved forward to give her a hug. Again silent acceptance spoke volumes. She knew that look of surprise and gratitude. It was a mirror of her own feelings – embraced in the hug he couldn’t see the tears in her eyes. A long hug said all that needed to be said.
He stayed with her for a while – a cheap studio but shelter from the world and unconditional love. She’d appreciated his company more than he could express. It was a move that they understood did not change but cemented the friendship. What the world thought was something else.
Like the character in Darryl Worley’s song “When You Need My Love” his girlfriend came back and, fueled with lies from his sister, had called her at two in the morning, drunk, with a string of accusations. George told her it was uncalled for and wrong. Questioned separately like suspects they shared the same story – the truth. No one understood it. Like “Hazard” come to life except no one died, but the small town judgments wore on them both.
Now she sat in the kitchen wishing for one of those hugs of his. Why had he come to mind now? Why did it replay in dreams she couldn’t shake? Was he in trouble? The thought troubled her deeply. His loyalty was a rare thing for her. After he got married she couldn’t take hearing the tirades at him so just let him know her door was always open. He would always be welcome. She moved away and they lost touch, except in her heart. She moved on, life rebuilt.
Until a dream replayed it now 21 years later out of the blue. She looked at her life – a job she loved, although not high paying at present. Many good things had happened for her but she realized one reason for the dream. She missed her rock. Having someone who really believed in her, who’d laugh with her and cry with her and for a little while they’d forget the pain in the rest of their lives.
Where did that leave her now? A little lost, in tears and listening to Richard Marx. Music always held a memory and made new ones Today country would bring her back to the present and help erase for a little while the hurt she used to drink away.
She flipped the stereo on and heard Billy Currington singing “…God is great, beer is good and people are crazy” and she smiled a little. Yes He is – and thank you Billy Currington. Maybe someday she’d find that again. She missed her rock.