Thursday, October 2, 2014

These Are Words That Go Together Well

One of the main reasons I started thinking about blogging again, only really more of just pointless writing, storytelling, was that a song was haunting me.  And that song brought with it a lot of memories.

When we were in eighth grade, our little clique was incredibly focused on The Beatles.  I clearly remember a sunny afternoon, sitting in the grass along the sides of recess, discussing in detail the meaning of the French lyrics to Michelle.  Keep in mind that this was in the 80s and we were a bunch of suburban middle class kids who wouldn't start taking language classes until high school.  We collectively read all of The Beatles books in the public library (Harrison's I Me Mine was my personal favorite).  I even wrote a paper for English on the whole Paul is Dead conspiracy.  We were an odd little bunch, but we made it work.

The next year most of us headed off to high school, and through class schedules and sports teams, our clique started to loosen at the edges.  Some of us started to float off to other groups, but Ben and I were solid.  He was one of my closest confidants, and perhaps I his.  I know he had a crush on me, and I know that I abused that crush.  But that's another story for another time. 

Our sophomore year Ben and I sat diagonally in our mandatory college prep English class, alphabetically my B to his C, with Mrs. Desmond.  Mrs. Desmond of the born again religion, of a rumored come to Jesus moment involving an out of control Winnebago.  Mrs. Desmond who spent a lot of time rallying against Guns and Roses and Coed Naked whatever Team t-shirts.  We were collectively an extraordinarily annoying bunch of kids - all too smart for our own good, and already too smug in our futures to really care about authority, even at that age.  I suspect we were her nightmare.  At the time I was infuriated by her Friday lesson plan, but as an adult I suspect it was really just a means to give her a period of peace.

So every Friday she passed out journals.  And the only rule of our journals was that we had to write for the entire class period.  Her claim was that what we wrote would be private, and that she'd never read it herself.  That the important part was writing, not content.   But we were suspicious.  We didn't trust anyone.  We were teenagers.  Some of the more creative folks wrote fiction. Some of us (*cough*) wrote lists and lists and lists.  But Ben, Ben was a genius.  Ben spent each class period writing out the lyrics to the entire album of Abbey Road.  He slipped me his journal once on the sly, and as I read We would be so happy you and me -No one there to tell us what to do - I'd like to be under the sea - In an octopus's garden with you I knew he was brilliant.  Genius.  He was there in class, scribbling away, to all appearances the most dilligent of us all.  And what could Mrs. Desmond say?  She couldn't call him out on it, because that would prove that she was reading our private journals.  Genius.

Eventually he filled the journal.  He moved on to Rubber Soul next.  And then I think the White Album.  And then bad things happened, and he left us for good. 

So over the last few days of September, I heard Octopus's Garden almost daily on my commute home.  Across a variety of stations.  And that song always makes me think of Ben.  And of writing in secret, writing for myself, writing on the off chance that _maybe_ someone will read it, but not really caring.  So for myself I'm going to try to blog every day this month.  Tell a silly story, some memory from the past.  So hey Ben.  My belle. I need to make you see, oh, what you mean to me.  Thank you for the inspiration.  Always.

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